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The Face which appears on 
the Orb of the Moon. 



Formerly Fellow of New College, Oxford, and of Winchester College. 



I 9 I I. 

" De ces deux infinis de nature, en grandeur et en 
petitesse, rhomme en concoit plus aysement celuy de grandeur 
que celuy de petitesse? 


" Look in the almanack, find out moonshine ! 



A FEW words of apology seem to be needed for the form 
in which this translation is presented. It was printed, 
without any idea of publication, in order to obtain a full 
revision by others, and to clear the ground for some further 
attempt to deal with the textual and other difficulties 
of this dialogue, before proceeding with other parts of 
Plutarch's Moralia. As, however, it was clear that this 
revision could be better obtained if the draft were circu- 
lated more freely among a public, however limited, and as 
I was encouraged to think that the dialogue might interest 
some general readers, I decided to put it out as it stands, 
the printer adding some necessary aids, such as the inser- 
tion in the margin of the names of successive speakers. 
I have included notes on a few of the textual difficulties 
(to which my attention had been called by an eminent 
scholar, and which were my primary interest), and an 
introductory note calling attention to parts of the subject 
matter which seem to deserve the fuller consideration of 
competent persons. 

The text followed throughout has been that of 
Wyttenbach's Oxford edition. I have, I hope, called 
attention to every deviation from his readings, i.e., from 
those to be found in his text, or his translation, or his 
critical notes. I have derived much assistance from the 
Teubner edition throughout, and owe to it, in most cases, 
my first knowledge of modern corrections, including those 
of M. Bernardakis himself. As I have explained, I had 
not the materials for a continuous critical commentary. 
The few attempts which I have made at reconstruction 
may be thought somewhat hazardous ; they might possibly 
seem less unjustifiable if the reader had before him the 
whole history of the text and of the corrections made by 
the great Renaissance scholars. I had entertained some 
hope that the severe nature of the subject matter, and the 

frequent references by Plutarch to older writers, might 
make it possible to proceed by way of hypothesis within 
fixed limits, and so to obtain a closer estimate of the 
general fidelity of the manuscripts which we have. How- 
ever this may turn out, I have introduced no readings 
resting on hypothesis into the translation except in ch. xix, 
where an express reference to a passage of Aristotle seems 
to give a sure clue, and in ch. xxvi, where a rendering 
of avroKpdropa (for irapaKaTco) has slipped in almost by 

Besides the unusually faulty state of the text, and its 
many lacuna, this dialogue is difficult because the ground 
is unbroken ; there is no commentary. The notes of 
Wyttenbach on other parts of the Moralia have been very 
helpful, and those of Holden on some of the Lives. But 
for the most part, a reader or editor of the De Facie must 
raise questions for himself, and then seek their solution. 

The special nature of the subject matter may be of help 
in dealing with the text ; it brings in difficulties of its own. 
An excellent Spanish proverb, which I hope may be 
allowed to do service once again, will explain what I 
mean : — « it takes four men to make a salad ; a spendthrift 
for the oil, a miser for the vinegar, a statesman for the salt, 
and a madman to stir." * The Astronomer, the critical 
Scholar, and the philosopher, all have their rights in this 
dialogue — 

" Three guests, I find, for different dishes call, 
And how's one host to satisfy them all ? " 

Here the translator has been the guest, and the others the 
hosts. I have to acknowledge help generously and un- 
sparingly given by several kind friends ; if I do not name 
them, modesty is the cause, and not ingratitude. But 
there are limits to the advantageous use of the method of 
question and answer, which lie not in the patience of the 
experts consulted, but in the capacity of the questioner to 
put the right questions. Continuous co-operation may 

* By the good offices of a friend I can give ibis in the original:— "Se 
necesitan cuatro para hacer una ensalada : un prodigo para el aceite, un avaro 
para el vinagre, un cuerdo para la sal y un loco para revolverla. "— From Diez, 
Dictionary of the Romance Languages, I gather that "loco" is by etymology 
"an owl." 

bring its own mischances, too. Failing the good fortune 
of some scholar who can speak familiarly the language 
of Science intervening, the " madman " must have the last 
hand in the dish. 

I have specially mentioned two books which have been 
of the utmost service to me throughout: Kepler's annotated 
translation, the work of the last clouded years of a great 
life (though Plutarch's treatise had been an inspiration to 
him from an early time), and Dreyer's Planetary Systems, 
to which I have often referred, but might properly have 
referred much oftener. Giinther's translation of Kepler's 
" S omnium" (Leipzig, 1898), which does not include 
Plutarch's dialogue, has a full account of Kepler's work 
upon it, and some excellent diagrams. Ebner's Essay on 
the Geographical matter in Plutarch (Munich, 1906) is full 
of interest, and he, too, has closely studied Kepler. 

In speaking .of astronomical subjects, I have made no 
attempt to give explanations, being in no degree qualified 
to do so, except that I have attempted to realise, and 
convey to a reader, the conditions of knowledge under 
which Plutarch wrote. As it happened that a lunar eclipse 
took place while these sheets were being printed, I have 
availed myself of it to introduce a diagram prepared 
(roughly, no doubt) from the data contained in the 
" Nautical Almanack " of 1910. That printed on the 
cover is reproduced, by kind permission of Mr. R. Painton 
and the publishers of the English Mechanic and World of 
Science, from their paper of November 25th, 19 10 ; it 
represents the moon shortly before totality on the night 
of the 1 6th. 

I have added a translation of Cicero's Somnium Scipi- 
onis, partly because a second view of Astronomy in ancient 
literature seemed likely to round off and complete that 
given in Plutarch, partly from an uneasy feeling that the 
Stoics hardly received fair play in the De Facie. At least 
they were sound on the Antipodes, and on a globular 
Earth. It is fortunate that they, and Latin literature also, 
can be represented by such a master of clear speech as 
this pupil of Poseidonius. And I have been fortunate in 

securing here the help of a very old friend, of whose 
Latinity I was as well assured as of his constant kindness ; 
otherwise I might have shrunk from the attempt to render 
such a masterly specimen of the conversation of men whose 
ideal combined a " leisure " full of noble interests, with a 
" dignity " which was one thing with public duty. 

Lastly, I hope that some indulgence may be accorded, 
if it should be necessary, to the " loco " who undertakes, 
even when helped by the best of printers, to be his own 


The opening chapters of the Dialogue being lost, we have no 
clue to the place where it is supposed to take place, nor to the 
t i me — unless one is given by the Eclipse of the Sun mentioned by 
Lucius in c. 19 — and some points in the actual course of the 
discussion require a word of explanation. This can be most 
readily supplied by an enumeration of the speakers, in the order 
of their appearance, followed by a short analysis of the argument. 
Where the names are those of real persons living in Plutarch's life- 
time, or of those who appear in other dialogues, I assume identity. 


1. Sextius Sylla, the Carthaginian, mentioned in the Life of I 
Romulus (c. 15) as "a man wanting neither learning nor in- 
genuity," who had supplied Plutarch with a piece of archaeological 
"information. Elsewhere (De cohib. ira. c. 1) he is addressed as 

" O most eager Sylla ! " In another dialogue he declines to be 
led into a discussion on all cosmology by answering the question 
"whether the egg or the bird comes first?" (Quaest conv. ii, 3). 
He has a story, or myth, to tell about the Moon, which he is 
impatient to begin. This story, which he had heard from a friend 
in Carthage, is mainly geographical in interest. The details 
remind us of those quoted from Pytheas about his journeys to 
Britain and the Northern Seas. The whole conception of the 
globe is clearly earlier than that of Ptolemy (see especially as to the 
Caspian Sea, c. 26). The myth also introduces us to the worship 
of Cronus as practised at Carthage, and connects it with the 
wonders of the Moon, and her place in the heavenly system. 

In c. 17 Sylla raises a good point, about the half-moon, which 
was being passed over. 

2. Lamprias, a brother, probably an elder brother, of 
Plutarch, who directs the course of the conversation, and himself 
expounds the Academic view, referring to Lucius for his recollec- 
tions of a recent discussion at which both had been present, 
when the Stoic doctrines on physics had been criticised. 

In some of the Symposiacs and other dialogues Lamprias takes 
a similar place ; in others both brothers take part. Lamprias 
probably died early, see p. 15. 

" Evidently a character, a good trencherman, as became a 
Boeotian, one who on occasion could dance the Pyrrhic war- 
dance, who loved well a scoff and a jest .... and who, if he 
thrust himself somewhat brusquely into discussions which are 
going forward, was quite able to justify the intrusion." — Arch- 
bishop Trench. 

3- Apollonides, astronomer and geometrician ; perhaps the 
latter would be the more correct designation. In another dialogue 
(Quaest conv. iii, 4) a "tactician" of the name appears. 

As Apollonius, the great mathematician (living about 200 B.C.) 
was also a geometrician who contributed to astronomical theory, 
not himself an astronomer, it seems likely that the name 
Apollonides has been coined by Plutarch for " one of the clan of 
Apollonius," i.e., a. young professor of Geometry. Apollonius is 
treated rather brusquely by Lamprias, certainly with less respect 
than Menelaus. He seems to have cast in his lot with the Stoics 
in their physical opinions. 

4. Aristotle, a Peripatetic. Perhaps the name was given to 
him to mark the School to which he belonged. In the Dialogue 
" On the deferred vengeance of the gods " an " Epicurus " is a 
representative Epicurean. 

5. Pharnaces, a Stoic, who sturdily supports his physical creed 
against all comers. 

6. Lucius, an Etrurian pupil of Moderatus the Pythagorean, 
spoken of in one place {Quaest conv. viii, 7 and 8) as "Lucius 
our comrade." He is elsewhere reticent as to the inner Pytha- 
gorean teaching, but is courteous and ready to discuss " what is 
probable and reasonable." 

Kepler is inclined to complain of his professorial tone and 
longwindedness in the present dialogue. This is hardly fair, as 
he is for the most part reporting a set discourse heard elsewhere, 
and that by request. Lamprias has to give him time to remember 
the points (c. 7). In c. 5 he asks that justice may be done to the 
Stoics. He associates himself with the Academics on physical 

7. Theon, the Grammarian, represents literature (as he does 
in other dialogues, notably in that on the " Ei at Delphi "). He 
is a welcome foil to the more severe disputants. In c. 24 he 
interrupts by moving the previous question — "Why a moon at 
all?" and is congratulated on the cheerful turn which he has 
given to the discussion. He was Egyptian by birth. Theon 
may sometimes recall to readers of Jules Verne's pleasant Voyage 
autour de la lune the sallies of Michel Ardan the Poet. 

8. Menelaus, a distinguished Astronomer who lived and 
observed at Alexandria. Observations of his, which include some 
taken in the first year of Trajan, a.d. 98, are recorded by Ptolemy 
{Magna Syntaxis vii, 3, p. 170) and other writers. 


[The opening chapters are lost. There must have been an 
introduction of the speakers, with some explanation as to time 
and place, a reference to a set discussion at which some of the 

speakers had been present, and a promise of Sylla to narrate a 
myth, bearing upon the Moon and her markings, which he had 
heard in Carthage. The conversation had taken a turn, pre- 
maturely as Sylla thinks, towards the mythical or supernatural 
aspects of the Moon.] 

c.i. It is agreed that the current scientific or quasi-scientific 
views on the markings of the Moon's face shall be first considered, 
then the supernatural. 

cc. 2-4. Lamprias mentions 

(i.) The view that the markings are due to weakness of human 
eyesight. This is easily refuted. 

(ii.) The view of Clearchus, the Peripatetic, that they are 
caused by reflexion of the Ocean on the Moon's face. But Ocean 
is continuous, the markings are broken ; they are seen from all 
parts of the Earth, including Ocean itself (and the Earth is not 
a mere point in Space, but has dimensions of its own) ; and, 
thirdly, they are not seen on any other heavenly body. 

c. 3. The mention of Clearchus brings up the view, adopted 
from him by the Stoics, that the Moon is not a solid or earth-like 
body, but is fire or air, like the stars. This view had been 
severely handled in the former conference. 

c. 6. Pharnaces complains that the Academics always criticise, 
never submit to be criticised. Let them first answer for their own 
paradox in confusing "up" and "down," if they place a heavy 
body, such as the Moon is now said to be, above. Lucius retorts : 
"Why not the Moon as well as the Earth, a larger body, yet 
poised in space?" Pharnaces is unconvinced. 

cc. 7-15. To give Lucius time to remember his points, 
Lamprias reviews the absurd consequences from the Stoic tenet 
that all weights converge towards the centre of our Earth. Why 
should not every heavy body, not Earth only, attract its parts 
towards its own centre ? Again, if the Moon is a light fiery body, 
how do we find her placed near the Earth and immeasurably far 
from the Sun, planets and stars ? How can we assume that Earth 
is the middle point of The Whole, that is, of Infinity ? Lastly, 
allow that the Moon, if a heavy body, is out of her natural place. 
Yet why not ? She may have been removed by force from the 
place naturally assigned to her to one which was better. Here 
the tone of the speaker rises as he lays down, often following the 
thought and the words of Plato's Timaeus, the theory of creative 
"Necessity" and "The Better." 

c. 16. Lucius is now ready to speak, but Aristotle intervenes 
with a reference to the view, held by his namesake, that the stars 
are composed of something essentially different from the four 
elements, and that their motion is naturally circular, not up or 
down. Lucius points out that it is degrading to the Moon to call 
her a star, being inferior to the stars in lustre and speed, 


and deriving her light from the Sun. For this, the view of 
Anaxagoras and of Empedocles, is the only one consistent with 
her phases as we see them (not that quoted from Poseidonius the 

c. 17. To an enquiry from Sylla whether the difficulty of the 
half-moon (i.e. how does reflexion, being at equal angles, then carry 
sunlight to the Earth, and not off into space beyond us?) had 
been met, Lucius answers that it had. The answer given was : 
(i) Reflexion at equal angles is not a law universally admitted or 
true ; (ii) there may be cross lights and a complex illumination ; 
(iii) it may be shewn by a diagram (though this could not be 
done at the time) that some rays would reach the earth ; (iv) the 
difficulty arises at other phases also. He repeats the argument 
drawn from the phases as we see them ; and ends with an analogy : 
Sunlight acts on the Moon as it does on the Earth, not as on the 
air; therefore the Moon resembles Earth rather than air. 

c. 19. This is well received, and Lucius refers (a second 
analogy) to Solar Eclipses, and in particular to a recent one, to 
shew that the Moon, like the Earth, can intercept the Sun's light, 
and is therefore, like it, a solid body. The fact that the track of 
the shadow is narrow in a solar eclipse is explained from the 
figures and distances. 

c. 20. Lucius continues his report, and describes in detail 
what happens in a lunar eclipse. If the Moon, he concludes, were 
fiery and luminous, we should only see her at eclipse times, i.e. at 
intervals normally of six months, occasionally of five. 

c. 21. Pharnaces and Apollonides both rise to speak. Apol- 
lonides raises a verbal point about the word "shadow" ; Pharnaces 
observes that the Moon does shew a blurred and fiery appearance 
during an Eclipse, to which Lamprias replies by enumerating 
the successive colours of the Moon's face during Eclipse, that 
proper to herself being dark and earth-like, not fiery. He con- 
cludes that the Moon is like our Earth, with a surface broken 
into heights and gullies, which are the cause of the markings. 

c. 22. Apollonides objects that there can be no clefts on the 
moon with sides high enough to cast such shadows. Lamprias 
replies that it is the distance and position of the light which 
matter, not the size of objects which break it ; 

c. 23. And goes on himself to supply a stronger objection — 
that we do not see the Sun's image in the Moon — and the answer. 
This is twofold (a) general, the two cases differ in all details 
(b) personal to those who, like himself, believe the Moon to be 
an earth, and to have a rough surface. Why should we see the 
Sun mirrored in the Moon, and not terrestrial objects or stars? 

c. 24. Sylla's myth is now called for, and the company sits 
down to hear it. But Theon interposes : Can the Moon have 

inhabitants or support any life, animal or vegetable ? If not, how 
is she " an earth," and what is her use ? 

c. 25. Theon's sally is taken in good part, and gravely 
answered at some length by Lamprias. 

c. 26. The mention of life on the Moon calls up Sylla, who 
again feels that he has been anticipated. He begins his myth, 
heard from a stranger met in Carthage, who had himself made 
the northward voyage and returned. Once in every thirty years 
(or year of the planet Saturn) an expedition is sent out from 
Carthage to certain islands in the Northern Atlantic where Cronus 
(Saturn) reigns in banishment. The stranger had charged Sylla 
to pay special honour to the Moon, 

cc. 27-29. instructing him as to the functions of Persephone 
in bringing about the second death — the separation of mind 
from soul — which takes place on the Moon, and the genesis of 
" Daemons," 

c. 30. to whom are assigned certain functions on Earth. 
Sylla commends the myth to his hearers. 

The dialogue " On the Face in the Moon " is not a scientific 
treatise, and its author would have disclaimed any intention of 
writing for scientific men. It is discussion for the sake of dis- 
cussion, the "good talk" of which Plutarch wished that Athens 
should have no monopoly in his own day, any more than it had 
when the Boeotian Simmias and Cebes were numbered among 
the most trusty friends of Socrates, or, later, when " plain living 
and high thinking" could be exhibited in lofty perfection in the 
Theban home of Epaminondas. A mixed company, including an 
astronomer, another mathematician, a literary man, and professed 
philosophers, with Plutarch's brother, Lamprias, a genial and 
sensible president, discusses the movements and nature of the 
Moon from many points of view. That the weightiest part of 
their arguments consists in an assault on the Stoic view that the 
Moon is a fiery or starlike body, and no earth, will not surprise 
us if we remember that the Stoics were used to such attacks ; no 
one denounced their physical absurdities (drawn from Aristotle, 
perversely followed) more roundly than the Stoics themselves, 
notably Seneca. (See Physical Science in the time of Nero, by 
Clarke and Geikie ; Macmillan, 19 10.) The interest in natural 
phenomena which Plutarch shows throughout the "Lives," touched 
by a still greater interest in their bearing on men and life, and 
coloured by an eye ready to see what was picturesque or ludicrous 
in them, makes him a pleasant, and, with certain reservations, a 
competent reporter. Like our own Sir Thomas Browne, though 
without his training or scientific grasp, he had a good deal of 
sympathy with mystical and occult explanations ; and he shows 

a constant desire to mediate between " Superstition " and 

It happens that this dialogue might, if carefully examined, yield 
material of some importance for the history of Greek science. It 
must have been written not very long — say a generation — before 
Ptolemy's standard book, the Magna Syntaxis, but it contains no 
reference to him, and shows no consciousness of his views and 
work. Now Ptolemy is almost our only authority as to the dis- 
coveries of Hipparchus, the " Father of Astronomy," who lived 
some three hundred years before him. It is often difficult to be 
sure from his language how much is to be credited to himself, 
and how much to Hipparchus. Delambre is always inclined to 
disparage the originality of Ptolemy, and De Morgan often 
questions Delambre's conclusions. (See Art. CI. Ptolemaeus, in 
Smith's Diet. Biog, also the Penny Cyclopcedia.) There were 
workers of importance in the interval, such as the great mathema- 
tician Apollonius, and the Stoic Poseidonius, though no first- 
rate astronomer. Thus a lively account of the state of science 
in Plutarch's time, so far as it could be made intelligible to an 
educated company, should have its value. 

Here we will only attempt to collect a few instances which 
illustrate Plutarch's way of dealing with these subjects, as it 
strikes an ordinary reader. 

(i.) In c. 20, in order to account for the fact that the Moon 
is first eclipsed on her eastern side, the Sun on his western, it is 
stated that the shadow of the earth moves from East to West, 
the Sun and the Moon from West to East, so that the Sun is 
overtaken by the shadow of the Moon, but the Moon meets that 
of the earth. Really, all three move (speaking geocentrically, 
though this makes no essential difference) from West to East ; in 
both the cases the Moon, travelling some twelve times as fast as 
the Sun, overtakes him, or the earth's shadow thrown by him ; 
in one she is the darkening, in the other the darkened body. 
The statement is put into the mouth of Lucius, who, after 
reporting the chief arguments used by " Our Comrade " in the 
previous discussion, adds some points of his own. The view 
may be one hastily formed by the Author on a matter where 
confusion is easy ; it can hardly have reached him from a pro- 
fessional source. 

(ii.) Lucius mentions, as another additional point, "the 
duration and magnitude of lunar eclipses." 

" If she is eclipsed when high up and far from the earth, she 
is hidden for a short time ; if when near the earth and low down, 
she is firmly held and emerges slowly out of the shadow ; and yet 
when she is low her speed is greatest, when high it is least." 

Kepler demurs to the fact, and says that, in his experience, 
Perigee eclipses are the shorter ; this must be understood ceteris 
paribus, since the precise conditions of no two eclipses, at 
least within a very long cycle of years, are the same. The last 

T I 

words of Lucius state correctly the second of two conflicting 
conditions. The shadow cone to be crossed will be broadest 
when the Moon is near the Earth, but she travels more slowly 
when distant, in accordance with the principle afterwards embodied 
in Kepler's Second Law. When the two conditions are stated in 
figures, it seems that ceteris paribus an eclipse of a distant Moon 
should be the longer by about one fifteenth. Kepler suggests a 
scientific reason for the mistake, so far as there is any. Was 
Plutarch also led by his own picturesque conception of the Moon 
struggling through the lower circles of the cone, to prefer, where 
views were evenly balanced, the one most consistent with it ? 

(iii.) The figures given in c. 20 raise a question. "Out of 
the 465 occurrences of full Moon at eclipse intervals, 404 show 
an interval of six months, the remainder one of five." The 
numbers correspond correctly to the lunar eclipses of a little over 
220 years. In that time there would be twelve recurrences of 
the cycle first known to the Greeks from Oriental astronomers, and 
called the Saros, each cycle being 223 lunar months or 18 years 
11 days, in all 216 years 132 days. This total will account for 60 
five-month eclipses and 396 six months opportunities (268 actual 
eclipses), and about four years more to one five-months eclipse 
and eight opportunities, so that the totals for 220 years will be 
those given in the text. But what was this period which included 
"the 465 etc."? It does not seem to be mentioned elsewhere? 

(iv.) In c. 17 reference is made to the optics of "folding 
mirrors," i.e., plane mirrors placed at an angle {i.e., an angle of 6o° 
in the case mentioned) to one another. We are told that the cause 
is given by Plato. But the words quoted from Plato (Timaeus, 
c. xvi, p. 46 C.) are used to explain reflexion from concave mirrors, 
and it is difficult to give them a meaning as applied by Plutarch. 
However, there is confusion and repetition in our text, and concave 
mirrors are mentioned above. 

(v.) The language used in chapters xxiv and xxv (often highly 
technical) as to the Moon's movements and the Epicyclic Theory, 
appears to refer to current controversies, settled later on by 
Ptolemy, and to deserve careful examination by a competent 

The Dialogue which suggests these questions may well be 
more instructive to us than a more professional treatise could be. 
Astronomy had, in its proper course of development, become 
very technical and mathematical, sharply distinguished from 
general physical enquiry. Even Hipparchus, we are told, "though 
he loved truth above everything," yet was not versed in "natural 
science," and was content to explain the motions of the heavenly 
bodies by an hypothesis mathematically consistent, without care 
for its physical truth (see Dreyer, p. 165, and the passages quoted 
from Theon of Alexandria and Ptolemy). Take the case of the 
Moon. Ptolemy was content to "save the phenomena," to borrow 
a favourite phrase, by a system which admirably accounted for 


her very complex movements, but which involved the consequence 
that her distance from us at the nearest must he half that at the 
farthest, and her angular diameter therefore double ! 

One bold thinker of earlier times, when an astronomer might 
concern himself also with physical facts, is twice mentioned. It 
will not be beside our purpose to look into his two great efforts, 
one of calculation, one of theory. 

We read in c. 10 that "Aristarchus in his book on Magnitudes 
and Distances shows that the distance of the Sun is more than 
eighteen times that of the Moon, and less than twenty times." 
The book is extant (ed. Wallis, Oxford, 1688), and the process 
seems to be as unexceptionable in theory as it was audacious. 
Aristarchus set himself to catch the moment of half-moon, and 
in the right-angled triangle Sun — Moon — Earth, to determine the 
large angle at Earth. This he found to be §§ of a right angle, 
or 87 , whereas it is really (theoretically, at least) 89 50'. This 
was harmless enough, but it involved a large relative error in 
the small angle, Earth — Sun — Moon, which became 3 instead of 
10', eighteen times too much. The sequel is very interesting. 
Hipparchus, a century later, adopted this result in his calculation 
of the parallax (angle subtending the earth's radius) of the Sun, 
which he found to be 3' (twenty times too much). This was 
adopted by Ptolemy in the second century a.d., and remained 
the official estimate until nearly 1700 a.d., though both Hipparchus 
and Kepler protested, the latter stating as his opinion that the 
parallax could not be greater than one minute of arc, or the 
distance less than twelve millions of miles. Shortly before 
1700 a.d. improved knowledge of the orbit and distances of 
Mars enabled the Sun's parallax to be reduced to 9J seconds 
of arc. Lastly, Halley, Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford, 
and also Astronomer Royal, had the splendid privilege of pointing 
out the method which he had no chance of practising himself, 
but which has since been repeatedly applied, though to some 
extent superseded*, the current settlement (a little under 9 seconds 
of arc) dating from 1867. It was a great achievement of Aris- 
tarchus, though he misled the world for so many centuries, to 
state a figure at all, and to think in such mighty units. Perhaps 
the attempt could not have been made in a more advanced state 
of his science. 

His cosmical speculation is even more daring. It is known 
to us from this dialogue (c. 6) and also from the great mathema- 
tician and engineer Archimedes of Syracuse (born about 287 B.C.), 
who records it (in his extant Arenarhts) without comment on the 
main point. Aristarchus proposed to " disturb the hearth of the 
universe " by his hypothesis that the heaven of the stars is fixed, 
while the earth has a daily motion on her axis and an annual 
motion round the sun. It was a brilliant intuition, possible in an 
age of comparatively simple knowledge, which could not easily 

* See Turner's Modern Astronomy, p. 95 foil. 

1 3 

have been made when the complexity of the several orbits was 
increasingly realised (see Dreyer, pp. 147-8). If we may, without 
irreverence, use an analogy, it was like the happy efforts which 
novices often make in an exercise requiring skill of mind or body, 
relapsing into incompetence when the technical conditions are 
better understood. Dr. Dreyer (p. 145) makes the interesting 
suggestion that Aristarchus took the idea from some early form of 
the system of "movable excentrics," and further (p. 157), that if 
that system had, in later times, prevailed against that of Epicycles, 
its rival in displacing the cumbrous "concentric spheres" known 
to Aristotle, it must have flashed, sooner or later, upon some 
bright mind, that there was one excentric point, namely, in the 
Sun, central to the orbits of all the planets. It is as tempting as 
it is idle to speculate on what might have happened if a helio- 
centric view had been stereotyped by Ptolemy and Thomas 
Aquinas, and the geocentric abandoned to a few heretics and a 
few great lagging minds, as Francis Bacon and Sir Thomas 
Browne did lag later on. To Ptolemy the question would hardly 
be of the first interest. The " phenomena " of the Solar system 
are " saved " perfectly well on either hypothesis. And until people 
became familiar with the conception of one law for all matter in 
space, the actual movements remained of little concern. 

Kepler {Epit. As iron. Cofiern., iv) remarks that in stating the 
uses of the Moon (c. 25) Lamprias has made an omission: — she 
gives man a means of approach to the planetary system. No one 
could speak with more absolute authority on this particular point, 
but we may give some details suggested by Plutarch's dialogue. 
From her apparent size, her nearness, the frequent recurrence of 
her phases, it was obvious that man should first turn to our 
nearest neighbour. There was the further advantage that, in all 
early stages of lunar enquiry, it was quite indifferent whether the 
sun turns round the earth, or the earth round the sun, or both 
round a common centre. Whether the Greeks owed much or 
little to the East, they soon came to realise that the moon really 
moved round the earth at a moderate distance, as the nave of a 
wheel round the axle. Soon it appeared that there were irregu- 
larities in this circular movement. The " First Anomaly," a 
difference in speed at various parts of the orbit, was well under- 
stood by Hipparchus and Ptolemy, and at last interpreted by Kepler 
as due to the fact that the orbit is, approximately, an ellipse not 
a circle (not apparently till after he had solved the difficult orbit of 
Mars). Finally, that a body thus revolving round another must 
move in an ellipse, with the larger body in one focus, was settled by 
Newton. The "Second Anomaly" was indicated by Hipparchus, 
fully worked out by Ptolemy, and known as " the Evection " to 
more modern times, its cause, namely the interference of a third 
body, the sun, being again first explained by Newton. Other 
difficult points in the moon's movement, as the inclination of her 
orbit to that of the sun (earth), and the retrogression of the points 


of intersection of the two orbits, were familiar to Hipparchus. 
A third "Anomaly," now known as "Variation," is instructive, 
because its discovery has been claimed for an Arabian astronomer, 
of about iooo a.d. After an exhaustive discussion during the 
last century (1836 — 187 1), it seems proved that the claim rested 
upon a mistake, and that the sole credit is due to Tycho Brahe 
(1598). (See Dreyer, p. 252.) 

Turning from the movements to the physical aspects of the 
moon, we find from Plutarch that very correct ideas prevailed as 
to her size, distance, and the composition of her crust ; and it 
was at least guessed that her density was less than that of the 
earth. On the other hand, she was erroneously supposed to 
share with us an atmosphere, in which comets move. Of great 
and far-reaching interest is the opinion which we find advanced, 
that earth and moon attract, each from its own centre, their own 
parts ; and that if the earth draws the moon, it is as a former part 
of itself, just as it attracts back a stone which is thrown upwards 
(see too Dreyer, p. 189). The moon is a sphere, always pre- 
senting the same face to the earth. There is no suggestion of 
rotation on an axis ; indeed this appears to be expressly excluded. 

It may cause a smile, on first reading, to find the earth-like 
nature of the moon, and similar truths, treated as open to 
argument. But our superior enlightenment is really very modern. 
Bacon gives a grudging assent to the new doctrine that the moon 
may be a body like the earth, but declines to extend it to other 
bodies in the heavens, and says that his own theory is against 
it. Sir Thomas Browne reserves for discussion the question : 
" Whether the globe of the earth be but a point in respect of the 
stars and firmament," and Galileo writes to Muti in 16 16: "I said 
then and I say now that I do not believe that the body of the 
moon is composed of earth and water. ... I added further : 
Even allowing that the matter of the moon may be like that of 
the earth (a most improbable supposition) still not one of those 
things that the earth produces can exist on the moon." Much 
has been said and written since— and the moon keeps her 
countenance ! 

Daniel Ruhnken, in his Inaugural Lecture (a.d. 1757) De 
Grcecia artium ac doctrinaram inventrice, an eloquent and weight) 
survey, warns us against a certain childishness in any comparison 
between ancient and modern astronomy, and lays stress upon the 
gains in actual knowledge and in increased accuracy due to 
instruments. The case, so far as instruments are concerned, is 
much stronger now than it was thirty years after Newton's death, 
but perhaps the essential points are the same, and are two. 
There is first the aim of the modern astronomer, which is to 
account for the position in space of the heavenly bodies; and, 
secondly, the mathematical conceptions, which are his best 
instruments, are of an order altogether higher. There has been 
continuity, but there has also been advance per saltutn. If 


Xerxes had won at Salamis, and had succeeded in sterilising the 
genius of the Hellenic race, the giants of the Revival in Europe, 
in which the Hellenic spirit was only one factor, would surely 
have made up the missing ground, but there would have been 
much to make up before the advance went on. These great 
things apart, it is interesting to trace the early glimmerings, 
sometimes fanned into brightness, and to follow the " good talk " 
of a party meeting in Boeotia perhaps late in the first century 
a.d. about the " Face in the Moon " and all that it meant. 
Horace, a century earlier, compares the Greek genius of his day 
to a little girl in the nursery — " What she sought eagerly she 
soon tired of and let be"— a sad estimate for those who remember 
what Greece at her best has done for us, and all the more sad, 
because it was deliberate and unbiassed. It is consoling to find, 
in one branch of enquiry, so much steadiness of purpose and 
persevering effort, every step an advance, and scarcely one which 
needed to be recalled ; continuous advance from Thales to 
Ptolemy and the later Theon. That no new contribution came 
from any other quarter, from the learned Romans or Indians or 
Arabians, until the birth of the new order, need not be matter 
of boasting ; it is simple fact. 

Plutarch was born about 50 a.d. at Chaeroneia in Boeotia, and 
was living at least as late as 115 a.d. We have little information 
as to the dates of his several works. M. Greard (p. 45) thinks 
that all the Lamprias dialogues, of which this is one, are early in 
date, and that Lamprias himself died young. We have a clue to 
the date of this dialogue in the recent Solar Eclipse mentioned in 
c. 19, which would help us more if we knew the place where the 
eclipse was observed ; we should naturally assume this to have 
been in Boeotia. Various eclipses have been examined by 
modern authorities ; see the special note. 

It would be out of place, in connexion with the dialogue 
before us, to speak at any length on Plutarch's life, or of his 
characteristics as a man, a stylist, and a moralist. On all these 
points a reader may be referred to the excellent "lives" by 
Dryden or Dacier, to the small volume of lectures by Archbishop 
Trench, to chapters in Mr. Dill's Roman Society Nero to Aurelius, 
and in Mr. Glover's recent Conflict of Religions, and to pages, 
all too few, in the late Dr. C. Bigg's works; and to the very 
beautiful and careful study by M. Octave Greard. The style 
causes some difficulty to a translator, since it would be unfaithful 
to the Author to represent it by clear and unencumbered periods. 
But it is a very honest style ; Plutarch, though steeped in Plato, 
never attempts to write with Plato's pen ; and the man is always 
apparent in the style. I have made free use of Amyot's version, 
which combines faithfulness with ease in a degree which may well 
make those who follow him despair.* As a physicist, Plutarch 
was genuinely interested both in mathematics (Sympos., ix, xiv, 

* See, however, Greard, p. 358 foil. 


etc.), and in natural phenomena; but his tastes were too miscel- 
laneous for accuracy to be possible. Indeed he makes no pretence 
to accuracy ; but no one dreams of his reputation suffering on 
that account, and he puts accuracy out of fashion with his readers. 
He was not a philosopher (Glover, p. 89), but he knew a vast 
deal about philosophers. In the De Facie it is sometimes amusing, 
and sometimes irritating, to watch the superior tone which the 
Academic speakers are allowed to assume in questioning or con- 
tradicting the scientific men present. As a practical moralist, 
with a strong vein of mysticism, Plutarch stands alone. It was 
the latter quality which gave him his strong interest in the moon, 
closely connected as she was with the mysteries of birth and 
death, and with the Spirits, or Genii, who help the endeavours 
of men on earth, and minister to their needs. But he was the 
practical moralist above all things, and would have endorsed, as a 
sane and lofty utterance, the words of the unhappy astronomer 
in Rasselas : — " To man is permitted the contemplation of the skies, 
but the practice of virtue is commanded." * 

* There is a short word, tG</>os, often used by Plutarch, and always difficult 
to translate, which ma}' be interpreted through its associates. It is coupled 
with Superstition (8€i<ri.5cu[xovia), Opinionativeness (o'lriixa), Stupidity (cgSeATepia), 
Pretentiousness (crefxvoTrts), Desire of applause (8o£onoiria) , and other unlovely 
qualities. We cannot draw a man's character by merely summing up his 
antipathies, but the enumeration may help us to understand Plutarch's attitude, 
at once robust and finely sympathetic, towards men and their opinions. 


920. C. — I. Here Sylla said : " Enough of all this, for it belongs Sylla log. 
to my story, and comes out of it. But I should like to ask in 
the first place whether we are to have a prelude, and first to 
discuss those views about the Moon's face which are in everyone's 
hand and on everyone's lips." " Of course we are," I answered, Lamprias. 
" it was the difficulty which we found in these which thrust us 
upon the others. In chronic diseases, patients grow weary of the 
common remedies and plans of treatment, and turn to rites and 

rharms and dreams Tnsf so in nhcrurp cinrl r»^ri~>l<=>v^rr anm.tV;^ 


Page 26, line 12, for "earthlier" read "earthlike." 

Page 33, line 33, for "outstretched" read "outmatched. 

Page 39, lines 15-16, delete marks of quotation. 

Page 41, line 3, for "or" read "nor." 

duced the image j the weaker the organ the clearer should be the 
appearance. The very irregularity of the surface is sufficient to 
refute this theory; this image is not one of continuous and confluent 
shadow, but is well sketched in the words of Agesianax : — 
' All round as fire she shines, but in her midst, 

Bluer than cyanus, lo, a maiden's eye, 

Her tender brow, her face in counterpart.' 

For the shadowy parts really pass beneath the bright ones which 
they encircle, and in turn are caught and cut off by them ; thus 
light and shade are interwoven throughout, and the face-form is 
delineated to the life. The argument was thought to meet your 
Clearchus also, Aristotle, no less unanswerably ; for yours he is, 
and an intimate of your namesake of old, although he perverted 
many doctrines of The Path." 

* For quotations from early philosophers see Die Is " Fragment a" (/go/, etc.), 
also " Heracliti Reliquice" (Bywater, /S77), and other special collections. 



etc.), and in natural phenomena; but his tastes were too miscel- 
laneous for accuracy to be possible. Indeed he makes no pretence 
to accuracy : but no one dreams of his reputation suffering on 
that account, and he puts accuracy out of fashion with his readers. 
He was not a philosopher (Glover, p. 89), but he knew a vast 
deal about philosophers. In the Dt Facie it is sometimes amusing, 
and sometimes irritating, to watch the superior tone which the 
Academic speakers are allowed to assume in questioning or con- 
tradicting the scientific men present. As a practical moralist, 
with a strong vein of mysticism, Plutarch stands alone. It was 
the latter quality which gave him his strong interest in the moon, 
closely connected as she was with the mysteries of birth and 
death, and with the Spirits, or Genii, who help the endeavours 
-<■ ••.-,*„ on earth, and minister to their needs. But he was the 
11 Minors, and would have endorsed, as a 
— ~" °ctrononier 


C. — I. Here Sylla said : " Enough of all this, for it belongs Sylla loq. 
to my story, and comes out of it. But I should like to ask in 
the first place whether we are to have a prelude, and first to 
discuss those views about the Moon's face which are in everyone's 
hand and on everyone's lips." " Of course we are," I answered, Lamprias. 
" it was the difficulty which we found in these which thrust us 
upon the others. In chronic diseases, patients grow weary of the 
common remedies and plans of treatment, and turn to rites and 
charms and dreams. Just so in obscure and perplexing enquiries, 
when the common, received, familiar accounts are not convincing, 
we cannot but try those which lie further afield ; we must not 
despise them, but simply repeat the spells which the old people 
used, and out of it all try to elicit the truth. 

II. "To begin, you see the absurdity of calling the figure 
which appears in the Moon an affection of our eyesight, too weak 
to resist the brightness, or, as we say, dazzled ; and of not observing 
that this ought rather to happen when we look at the Sun, who 
meets us with his fierce strong strokes. Empedocles* has a pretty 
line giving the difference between the two : — 

' The Sun's keen shafts, and Moon with kindly beams.' 

Thus he describes the attractive, cheerful, painless quality of 
her light. Further, the reason is given why men of dim and 
weak eyesight do not see any distinct figure in the moon ; 
her orb shines full and smooth to them, whereas strong-sighted 
persons get more details, and distinguish the features impressed 
there with clearer sense of contrast. Surely, the reverse should 
happen if it were a weakness and affection of the eye which pro- 
duced the image ; the weaker the organ the clearer should be the 
appearance. The very irregularity of the surface is sufficient to 
refute this theory; this image is not one of continuous and confluent 
shadow, but is well sketched in the words of Agesianax : — 
' All round as fire she shines, but in her midst, 

Bluer than cyanus, lo, a maiden's eye, 

Her tender brow, her face in counterpart.' 

For the shadowy parts really pass beneath the bright ones which 
they encircle, and in turn are caught and cut off by them ; thus 
light and shade are interwoven throughout, and the face-form is 
delineated to the life. The argument was thought to meet your 
Clearchus also, Aristotle, no less unanswerably ; for yours he is, 
and an intimate of your namesake of old, although he perverted 
many doctrines of The Path." 

* For quotations from early philosophers see Diets' " Fragment a" (/90/, etc.), 
also " Heracliti Reliquice" {Bywater, 1877), and other special collections. 



Apollonides. III. Here Apollonides interposed to ask what the view of 

Lamprias. Clearchus was. "No man," I said, "has less good right than 

you to ignorance of a doctrine which starts from Geometry, as 

from its own native hearth. Clearchus says that the face, as we 921. * 

call it, is made up of images of the great ocean mirrored in the 

Moon. For our sight being reflected back from many points, is 

able to touch objects which are not in its direct line ; and the 

full moon is of all mirrors the most beautiful and the purest in 

uniformity and lustre. As then you geometers think that the 

rainbow is seen in the cloud when it has acquired a moist and 

Ar. Probl. smooth consistence, because our vision is reflected on to the sun, 

*»»i 3- so Clearchus held that the outer Ocean is seen in the moon, not 

where it really is, but in the place from which reflexion carried 

our sight into contact with it and its dazzle. Agesianax has 

another passage : — 

' Or Ocean's wave that foams right opposite, 
Be mirrored like a sheet of fire and flame.' " 

Apollonides. IV. This pleased Apollonides. " What a fresh way of 
putting a view ; that was a bold man, and there was poetry in 
him. But how did the refutation proceed on your side?" "In 

Lamprias. this way," I answered. " First the outer Ocean is uniform, a sea 
with one continuous stream, whereas the appearance of the dark 
places in the moon is not uniform ; there are isthmuses, so to call 
them, where the brightness parts and defines the shadow ; each 
region is marked off and has its proper boundary, and so the 
places where light and shade meet assume the appearance of 
height and depth, and represent quite naturally human eyes and 
lips. Either, therefore, we must assume that there are more 
oceans than one, parted by real isthmuses and mainlands, which 
is absurd and untrue ; or, if there is only one, it is impossible to 
believe that its image could appear thus broken up. Now comes 
a question which it is safer to ask in your presence than it is to 
state an answer. Given that the habitable world is 'equal in 
breadth and length,' is it possible that the view of the sea as a 
whole, thus reflected from the moon, should reach those sailing 
upon the great sea itself, yes, or living on it as the Britons do, 
and this even if the earth does, as you say it does, occupy a point 
central to the sphere of the moon? This," I continued, "is a 
matter for you to consider, but the reflexion of vision from the 
moon is a further question which it is not for you to decide, nor 
yet for Hipparchus. I know, my dear friend [that Hipparchus is 
a very great astronomer], but many people do not accept his view 
on the physical nature of vision, that it is probably a sympathetic 
blending and commixture, rather than a succession of strokes and 
recoils such as Epicurus devised for his atoms. Nor will you find 
Clearchus ready to assume that the moon is a weighty and solid 
body. Yet 'an ethereal and luminous star,' to use your words, 
ought to break and divert the vision, so there is no question 
of reflexion. Lastly, if anyone requires us to do so, we will 


put the question, how is it that only one face is seen, the sea Lamprias. 
mirrored on the moon, and none in any of all the other stars ? 
Yet reason demands that our vision should be thus affected in the 
case of all or of none. But now," I said, turning to Lucius, 
"remind us which of our points was mentioned first." 

V. " No," said Lucius ; " to avoid the appearance of merely Lucius. 
insulting Pharnaces, if we pass over the Stoic view without a 
word of greeting, do give some answer to Clearchus, and his 
assumption that the moon is a mere mixture of air and mild 
fire, that the air grows dark on its surface, as a ripple courses 
over a calm sea, and so the appearance of a face is produced " 

"It is kind of you, Lucius," I said, "to clothe this absurdity Lamprias. 
in sounding terms. That is not how our comrade dealt with it. 
He said the truth, that it is a slap in the face to the moon when 
they fill her with smuts and blacks, addressing her in one breath 
292. as Artemis and Athena, and in the very same describing a caked 
compound of murky air and charcoal fire, with no kindling or 
light of its own, a nondescript body smoking and charred like 
those thunderbolts which poets address as 'lightless' and 'sooty.' 
That a charcoal fire, such as this school makes out the moon to 
be, has no stability or consistence at all, unless it find solid fuel 
at once to support and to feed it, is a point not so clearly seen by 
some philosophers as it is by those who tell us in jest that 
Hephaestus has been called lame because fire advances no better 
without wood than lame people without a stick ! If then the 
moon is fire, whence has it all this air inside it ? For this upper 
region, always in circular motion, belongs not to air but to some 
nobler substance, which has the property of refining and kindling 
all things. If air has been generated, how is it that it has not 
been vaporised by the fire and passed away into some other form, 
but is preserved near the fire all this time, like a nail fitted into 
the same place and wedged there for ever? If it is rare and 
diffused, it should not remain stable, but be displaced. On the 
other hand, it cannot subsist in a solidified form, because it is 
mingled with fire, and has no moisture with it nor yet earth, the 
only agents by which air can be compacted. Again, rapid 
motion fires the air which is contained in stones, and even in cold 
lead, much more then that which is in fire, when whirled round 
with such velocity. For they are displeased with Empedocles, 
when he describes the moon as a mass of air frozen like hail and 
enclosed within her globe of fire. Yet they themselves hold 
that the moon is a globe of fire which encloses air variously 
distributed, and this though they do not allow that she has clefts 
in herself, or depths and hollows, for which those who make her 
an earth-like body find room, but clearly suppose that the air lies 
upon her convex surface. That it should do so is absurd in point 
of stability, and impossible in view of what we see at full moon ; 
for we ought not to be able to distinguish black parts and shadow 
then ; either all should be dull and shrouded, or all should shine 


out together when the moon is caught by the sun. For look at 
our earth ; the air which lies in her depths and hollows, where no 
ray penetrates, remains in shadow unilluminated ; that which is 
outside, diffused over the earth, has light and brilliant colouring, 
because from its rarety it easily mingles, and takes up any quality 
or influence. By light, in particular, if merely touched, or, in 
your words, grazed, it is changed all through and illumined. 
This is at once an excellent ally to those who thrust the air 
into depths and gullies on the moon, and also quite disposes of 
you, who strangely compound her globe of air and fire. For it is 
impossible that shadow should be left on her surface when the 
sun touches with his light all the moon within our own field of 

Pharnaces. VI. Here Pharnaces, while I was still speaking, broke in : 

" There it is again, the old trick of the Academy brought out 
against us ; they amuse themselves with arguing against other 
people, but in no case submit to be examined on their own views, 
they treat their opponents as apologists, not accusers. I can 
speak for myself at any rate ; you are not going to draw me on 
to-day to answer your charges against the Stoics, unless we first 
get an account of your conduct in turning the universe upside 

Lucius. down." Lucius smiled : "Yes, my friend," he said, "only do not 

threaten us with the writ of heresy, such as Cleanthes used to 
think that the Greeks should have had served upon Aristarchus 923. 
of Samos, for shifting the hearth of the Universe, because that 
great man attempted 'to save phenomena' with his hypothesis 
that the heavens are stationary, while our earth moves round in an 
oblique orbit, at the same time whirling about her own axis. We 
Academics have no view of our own finding, but do tell me this — 
why are those who assume that the moon is an earth turning 
things upside down, any more than you who fix the earth where 
she is, suspended in mid air, a body considerably larger than 
the moon? At least mathematicians tell us so, calculating the 
magnitude of the obscuring body from what takes place in eclipses, 
and from the passages of the moon through the shadow. For 
the shadow of the earth is less as it extends, because the illuminat- 
ing body is greater, and its upper extremity is fine and narrow, as 

SeeButtmann even Homer, they say, did not fail to notice. He called night 

Lexil.s.v.6o6s. < pointed ' because of the sharpness of the shadow. Such, at any 
rate, is the body by which the moon is caught in her eclipses, and 
yet she barely gets clear by a passage equal to three of her own 
diameters. Just consider how many moons go to make an earth, 
if the earth cast a shadow as broad at its shortest as three moons. 
Yet you have fears for the moon lest she should tumble, while as 
for our earth, Aeschylus has perhaps satisfied you that Atlas 

P.V. 34Q. 'Stands, and the pillar which parts Heaven and Earth 

His shoulders prop, no load for arms t' embrace!' 

Then you think that under the moon there runs light air, quite 
inadequate to support a solid mass, while the earth, in Pindar's 


words, ' is compassed by pillars set on adamant.' And this is Lucius. 
why Pharnaces has no fear on his own account of the earth's Fr. 65. 
falling, but pities those who lie under the orbit of the moon, 
Ethiopians, say, or Taprobanes, on whom so great a weight might 
fall ! Yet the moon has that which helps her against falling, in 
her very speed and the swing of her passage round, as objects 
placed in slings are hindered from falling by the whirl of the 
rotation. For everything is borne on in its own natural direction 
unless this is changed by some other force. Therefore the moon 
is not drawn down by her weight, since that tendency is counter- 
acted by her circular movement. Perhaps it would be more 
reasonable to wonder if she were entirely at rest as the earth is. 
As things are, the moon has a powerful cause to prevent her from 
being borne down upon us ; but the earth, being destitute of any 
other movement, might naturally be moved by its own weight ; 
being heavier than the moon not merely in proportion to its 
greater bulk, but because the moon has been rendered lighter 
by heat and conflagration. It would actually seem that the 
moon, if she is a fire, needs earth all the more, a solid 
substance whereon she moves and to which she clings, so 
feeding and keeping up the force of her flame. For it is im- 
possible to conceive fire as maintained without fuel. But you 
Stoics say that our earth stands firm without foundation or 
root." "Of course," said Pharnaces, "it keeps its proper and Pharnaces. 
natural place, as being the essential middle point, that place 
around which all weights press and bear, converging towards it 
from all sides. But all the upper region, even if it receive any 
earth-like body thrown up with force, immediately thrusts it out 
hitherward, or rather lets it go, to be borne down by its own 

VII. At this point, wishing Lucius to have time to refresh Lamprias. 
his memory, I called on Theon : " Theon, which of the tragic 
poets has said that physicians 

' Purge bitter bile with bitter remedies ? ' " Soph. 770. 

Theon answered that it was Sophocles. "And physicians must be Theon. 
allowed to do so," I said, "we cannot help it. But philosophers Lamprias. 
must not be listened to, if they choose to meet paradoxes with 
paradoxes, and, when contending against strange views, to invent 
924. views which are more strange and wonderful still. Here are 
these Stoics with their ' tendency towards the middle ! ' Is 
there any paradox which is not implicit there ? That our 
earth, with all those depths and heights and inequalities, is a 
sphere ? That there are people at our antipodes who live like 
timber-worms or lizards, their lower limbs turned uppermost as 
they plant them on earth ? That we ourselves do not keep 
perpendicular as we move, but remain on the slant, swerving like 
drunkards ? That masses of a thousand talents weight, borne 
through the depth of the earth, stop when they reach the 

Lamprias. middle point, though nothing meets or resists them ; or, if mere 
momentum carry them down beyond the middle point, they 
wheel round and turn back of themselves ? That segments of 
beams sawn off at the surface of the earth on either side, do not 
move downwards all the way, but as they fall upon the surface 
receive equal thrusts from the outside inwards and are lost around 
the middle ? That water rushing violently downwards, if it 
should reach this middle point— an incorporeal point as they say 
— would stand balanced around it for a pivot, swinging with an 
oscillation which never stops and never can be stopped ? Some 
of these a man could not force himself to present to his intellect 
as possible, even if untrue ! This is to make 

' Up down, down up, where Topsy-Turvy reigns ' 

all from us to the centre down, and all below the centre becoming 
up in its turn ! So that if a man, out of ' sympathy ' with earth, 
were to stand with the central point of his own body touching 
the centre, he would have his head up and his feet up too ! 
And if he were to dig into the space beyond, the down part of 
his body would bend upwards, and the soil would be dug out 
from above to below ; and if another man could be conceived 
meeting him, the feet of both would be said to be up, and 
would really become so ! 

VIII. " Such are the monstrous paradoxes which they shoulder 
and trail along, no mere wallet, Heaven help us ! but a conjuror's 
stock-in-trade and show-booth ; and then they call other men 
triflers, because they place the moon, being an earth, up above, 
and not where the middle point is. And yet if every weighty 
body converge to the same point with all its parts, the earth will 
claim the heavy objects, not so much because she is middle of 
the whole, as because they are parts of herself; and the inclination 
of falling bodies will testify, not to any property of earth as 
middle of the Universe, but rather to a community and fellowship 
between earth and her own parts, once ejected, now borne 
back to her. For as the sun draws into himself the parts of 
which he has been composed, so earth receives the stone as 
belonging to her, and draws it towards herself. If there is 
any body neither assigned originally to the earth, nor torn 
away from it, but having somewhere a substance and nature of 
its own, such as they would describe the moon to be, what is 
there to prevent its existing separately, self-centred, pressed to- 
gether and compacted by its own parts ? For it is not proved 
that earth is the middle of the Universe, and, further, the way in 
which bodies here are collected and drawn together towards the 
earth suggests the manner in which bodies which have fallen 
together on to the moon may reasonably be supposed to keep 
their place with reference to her. Why the man who forces 
all earth-like and heavy objects into one place, and makes them 
parts of one body, does not apply the same law of coercion to 


light bodies, I cannot see, instead of allowing all those fiery LampriaS- 
structures to exist apart ; nor why he does not collect all the stars 
into the same place, and hold distinctly that there must be a 
body common to all upward-borne and fiery units. 

925- IX. " But you and your friends, dear Apollonides, say that the 
sun is countless millions of stades distant from the highest circle, 
and that Phosphor next to him, and Stilbon, and the other 
planets, move below the fixed stars and at great intervals from 
one another ; and yet you think that the universe provides within 
itself no interval in space for heavy and earth-like bodies. You 
see that it is ridiculous to call the moon no earth because she 
stands apart from the region below, and then to call her a star 
while we see her thrust so many myriads of stades away from the 
upper circle as though sunk into an abyss. She is lower than 
the stars by a distance which we cannot state in words, since 
numbers fail you mathematicians when you try to reckon it, but 
she touches the earth in a sense and revolves close to it, 

' Like to the nave of a wagon, she glances,' 
says Empedocles, 

' which near the mid axle . . . .' 

For she often fails to clear the earth's shadow, rising but little, 
because the illuminating body is so vast. But so nearly does she 
seem to graze the earth and to be almost in its embrace as she 
circles round, that she is shut off from the sun by it unless she 
rises enough to clear that shaded, terrestrial region, dark as night, 
which is the appanage of earth. Therefore I think we may say 
with confidence that the moon is within the precincts of earth 
when we see her blocked by earth's extremities. 

X. " Now leave the other fixed stars and planets, and consider 
the conclusion proved by Aristarchus in his ' Magnitudes and ed 
Distances ' ; that the distance of the sun is to the distance of the i 
moon from us in a ratio greater than eighteen to one, less than 
twenty to one. Yet the highest estimate of the distance of the 
moon from us makes it fifty-six times the earth's radius, and that 
is, even on a moderate measurement, forty thousand stades. 
Upon this basis, the distance of the sun from the moon works out 
to more than forty million three hundred thousand stades. So 
far has she been settled down from the sun because of her weight, 
and so nearly does she adjoin the earth, that, if we are to dis- 
tribute estates according to localities, the ' portion and inheritance 
of the earth ' invites the moon to join her, and the moon has a 
next claim to chattels and persons on earth, in right of kinship 
and vicinity. And I think that we are not doing wrong in this, 
that, while we assign so great and profound an interval to what 
we call the upper bodies, we also leave to bodies below as 
much room for circulation as the breadth from earth to moon. 
For he who confines the word 'upper' to the extreme circum- 
ference of heaven and calls all the rest ' lower ' goes too far, and 

ad init. 


Lamprias. on the other hand he who circumscribes ' below ' to earth, or 
rather to her centre, is preposterous. On this side and on that 
the necessary interval must be granted, since the vastness of the 
universe permits. Against the claim that everything after we leave 
the earth is 'up' and poised on high, sounds the counterclaim 
that everything after we leave the circle of the fixed stars is 
' down ' ! 

XI. " Look at the question broadly. In what sense is the 
earth ' middle,' and middle of what ? For The Whole is infinite ; 
now the Infinite has neither beginning nor limit, so it ought not to 
have a middle ; for a middle is in a sense itself a limit, but infinity 
is a negation of limits. It is amusing to hear a man labour to 
prove that the earth is the middle of the Universe, not of The 
Whole, forgetting that the Universe itself lies under the same 
difficulties ; for The Whole, in its turn, left no middle for the 
Universe. ' Hearthless and homeless ' it is borne over an infinite 926- 
void towards nothing which it can call its own ; or, if it find 
some other cause for remaining, it stands still, not because of the 
nature of the place. Much the same can be conjectured about 
the earth and the moon ; if one stands here unshaken while the 
other moves, it is in virtue of a difference of soul and of nature 
rather than of place. Apart from all this, has not one important 
point escaped them? If anything, however great, which is 
outside the centre of the earth is ' up,' then no part of the 
Universe is 'down.' Earth is 'up,' and so are the things on 
the earth, absolutely every body lying or standing about the earth 
becomes ' up ' ; one thing alone is ' down,' that incorporeal 
point which has of necessity to resist the pressure of the whole 
Universe, if ' down ' is naturally opposed to ' up.' Nor is this 
absurdity the only one. Weights lose the cause of their down- 
ward tendency and motion, since there is no body below towards 
which they move. That the incorporeal should have so great a 
force as to direct all things towards itself, or hold them together 
about itself, is not probable, nor do they mean this. No ! it is 
found to be absolutely irrational, and against the facts, that ' up ' 
should be the whole Universe, and ' down ' nothing but an 
incorporeal and indivisible limit. The other view is reasonable, 
which we state thus, that a large space, possessing breadth, is 
apportioned both to 'the above' and to 'the below.' 

XII. " However, let us assume, if you choose, that it is 
contrary to nature that earth-like bodies should have their motions 
in heaven ; and now let us look quietly, with no heroics, at the 
inference, which is this, not that the moon is not an earth, but 
that she is an earth not in its natural place. So the fire of Aetna 
is fire underground, which is contrary to nature, yet is fire ; and 
air enclosed in bladders is light and volatile by nature, but has 
come perforce into a place unnatural to it. And the soul, the 
soul itself," I went on, "has it not been imprisoned in the body 


contrary to nature, a swift, and, as you hold, a fiery soul in a slow, Lamprias- 

cold body, the invisible within the sensible? Are we therefore to 

say that soul within body is nothing, and not rather that a divine 

thing has been subjected to weight and density, that one which 

ranges all heaven and earth and sea in a moment's flight has 

passed into flesh and sinews, marrow and humours, wherein is the 

origin of countless passions ? Your Lord Zeus, is he not, so long 

as he preserves his own nature, one great continuous fire ? Yet 

we see him brought down, and bent, and fashioned, assuming, 

and ready to assume, any and every complexion of change. Look 

well to it, my friend, whether when you shift all things about, and 

remove each to its ' natural ' place, you are not framing a system 

to dissolve the Universe and introducing Empedoclean strife, or 

rather stirring up the old Titans against Nature, in your eagerness 

to see once more the dreadful disorder and dissonance of the 

myth ? All that is heavy in a place by itself, and all that is light 

in another, 

' Where neither sun's bright face is separate seen, 
Nor Earth's rough brood, nor Ocean any more,' 

as Empedocles says ! Earth had nothing to do with heat, water 
with wind ; nothing heavy was found above, nothing light below ; 
without commixture, without affection were the principles of all 
things, mere units, each desiring no intercourse with each or 
partnership, performing their separate scornful motions in mutual 
flight and aversion, a state of things which must always be, 
as Plato teaches, where God is absent, the state of bodies 
deserted by intelligence and soul. So it was until the day when 
Providence brought Desire into Nature, and Friendship was 
927- engendered there, and Aphrodite and Eros, as Empedocles tells 
us and Parmenides too and Hesiod, so that things might change 
their places, and receive faculties from one another in turn, and, 
from being bound under stress, and forced, some to be in motion 
some to rest, might all begin to give in to the Better, instead of 
the Natural, and shift their places and so produce harmony and 
communion of The Whole. 

XIII. " For if it be true that no other part of the Universe 
departed from Nature, but that each rests in its natural place, 
not needing any transposition or rearrangement, and never from 
the first having needed any, I am at a loss to know what there is 
for Providence to do, or of what Zeus ' the prime-craftsman,' is 
the maker and the Artist-father. There would be no need of 
tactics in an army if each soldier knew of himself how to take 
and keep place and post at the proper time ; nor of gardeners or 
builders if the water of its own nature were to flow over the 
parts which need it, and moisten them, or if bricks and beams 
should of themselves adopt the movements and inclinations 
which are natural, and arrange themselves in their fitting places. 
If such a theory strike out Providence altogether, and if it be 


God's own attribute to order and discriminate things, what marvel 
is it that Nature has been so disposed and partitioned that fire is 
here and stars there, and again that Earth is planted where it is 
and the Moon above, each held by a firmer bond than that of 
Nature, the bond of reason ? Since, if all things are to observe 
natural tendencies, and to move each according to its nature, let 
the Sun no longer go round in a circle, nor Phosphorus, nor any 
of the other stars, because it is the nature of light and fiery 
bodies to move upwards, not in a circle ! But if Nature admits 
of such variation with place, as that fire, here seen to ascend, yet 
when it reaches heaven, joins in the general revolution, what 
marvel if heavy and earthlier bodies too, when placed there, 
assume another kind of motion, mastered by the circumambient 
element ? For it is not according to Nature that light things 
lose their upward tendency in heaven, and yet heaven cannot 
prevail over those which are heavy and incline downwards. No, 
heaven at some time had power to rearrange both these and 
those, and turned the nature of each to what was Better. 

XIV. " However, if we are at last to have done with notions 
enslaved to usage, and to state fearlessly what appears to be 
true, it is probable that no part of a whole has any order, or 
position, or movement of its own which can be described in 
absolute terms as natural. But when each body places itself at 
the disposal of that on account of which it has come into being, 
and in relation to which it naturally exists or has been created, to 
move as is useful and convenient to it, actively and passively and 
in all its own states conforming to the conservation, beauty, or 
power of that other, then, I hold, its place, movements and 
disposition are according to Nature. In man certainly, who has, 
if anything has, come into being according to Nature, the heavy 
and earth-like parts are found above, mostly about the head, the 
hot and fiery in the middle regions ; of the teeth one set grows 
from above, the other from below, yet neither contrary to Nature ; 
nor can it be said of the fire in him that when it is above and 
flashes in his eyes it is natural, but when it is in stomach or heart 
unnatural ; each has been arranged as is proper and convenient. 

' Mark well the tortoise and the trumpet-shell ' 
says Empedocles, and, we may add, the nature of every shell-fish, 

' Earth uppermost, flesh under thou shalt see.' 

Yet the stony substance does not squeeze or crush the growth 928. 
within, nor again does the heat fly off and be lost because of its 
lightness ; they are mingled and co-ordinated according to the 
nature of each. 

XV. "And so it is probably with the Universe, if it be indeed 
a living structure ; in many places it contains earth, in many 
others fire, water, and wind, which are not forced out under stress, 
but arranged on a rational system. Take the eye ; it is not where 


it is in the body owing to pressure acting on its light substance, Lamprias. 

nor has the heart fallen or slipped down into the region of the 

chest because of its weight ; each is arranged where it is because 

it was better so. Let us not then suppose that it is otherwise 

with the parts of the Universe ; that Earth lies here where it has 

fallen of its own weight, that the Sun, as Metrodorus of Chios 

used to think, has been pressed out into the upper region because 

of his lightness, like a bladder, or that the other stars have 

reached the places which they now hold as if they had been 

weighed in a balance and kicked the beam. No, the rational 

principle prevailed ; and some, like eyes to give light, are inserted 

into the face of The Whole and revolve ; the Sun acts as a heart, 

and sheds and distributes out of himself heat and light, as it were 

blood and breath. Earth and sea are to the Universe, according 

to Nature, what stomach and bladder are to the animal. The 

Moon, lying between Sun and Earth, as the liver or some other 

soft organ between heart and stomach, distributes here gentle 

warmth from above, while she returns to us, digested, purified, 

and refined in her own sphere, the exhalations of Earth. Whether 

her earth-like solid substance contributes to any other useful 

purposes, we cannot say. We do know that universally The 

Better prevails over the law of Stress. How can their view lead 

us to any probable result ? That view is, that the luminous and 

subtle part of the atmosphere has by its rarety formed the sky, 

the dense and consolidated part stars, and that, of the stars, the 

Moon is the dullest and the grossest. However, we may see 

with our eyes that the Moon is not entirely separated from the 

atmosphere, but moves within a great belt of it, having beneath 

itself a wind-swept region, where bodies are whirled, and amongst 

them Comets." 

XVI. This said, as I was passing the turn to Lucius, my Aristotle. 
argument now reaching the stage of demonstration, Aristotle said 
with a smile : — " I protest that you have addressed your whole 
reply to those who assume that the Moon herself is half fire, and 
who say of all bodies in common that they have an inclination of 
their own, some an upward one, some a downward. If there is a 
single person who holds that the stars move in a circle according 
to Nature, and are of a substance widely different from the four 
elements, it has not occurred to your memory, even by accident ; 
so that I am out of the discussion." " No, no, good friend," said Lucius. 
Lucius. " As to the other stars, and the heaven in general, when 
your school asserts that they have a nature which is pure and 
transparent, and removed from all changes caused by passion, 
and when they introduce a circle of eternal and never ending 
revolution, perhaps no one would contradict you, at least for the 
present, although there are countless difficulties. But when the 
theory comes down and touches the Moon, it no longer retains 
the freedom from passion and the beauty of form of the others. 
Leaving out of account her other irregularities and points of 




Ion 57. 

difference, this very face which appears upon her has come there 
either from some passion proper to herself or by admixture of 
some other substance. Indeed, mixture implies passion, since 929. 
there is a loss of its own transparency when a body is forcibly 
filled with what is inferior to itself. Consider her own torpor and 
dullness of speed, and her faint ineffectual heat, wherein, as Ion 
says — 

'The black grape ripens not'; 

to what are we to assign this, but to weakness in herself and affection, 
if affection can have place in an eternal and Olympian body ? It 
comes to this, dear Aristotle ; look on her as earth, and she appears 
a very beautiful object, venerable and highly adorned ; but as star, 
or light, or any divine or heavenly body, I fear she may be found 
wanting in shapeliness and grace, and do no credit to her beautiful 
name, if out of all the multitude in heaven she alone goes round 
begging light of others, as Parmenides says, 

1 For ever peering toward the Sun's bright rays.' 

Now when our comrade, in his dissertation, had expounded the 
proposition of Anaxagoras, that ' the Sun places the brightness in 
the Moon,' he was highly applauded. But I am not going to 
speak of things which I learned from you or with you, I will 
gladly pass on to the remaining points. It is then probable that 
the Moon is illuminated not as glass or crystal by the sunlight 
shining in and through her, nor yet by way of accumulation of 
light and rays, as torches multiply their light. For then we 
should have full moon at the beginning of the month just as 
much as at the middle, if she does not conceal or block the sun, 
but he passes through because of her rarety, or if he by way of 
commixture, shines upon the light around her and helps to 
kindle it with his own. For it is not possible to allege any 
bending or swerving aside on her part at the time of her conjunc- 
tion, as we can when she is at the half or is gibbous or crescent. 
Being then ' plumb opposite,' as Democritus puts it, to her 
illuminant, she receives and admits the sun, so that we should 
expect to see her shining herself and also allowing him to shine 
through her. Now she is very far from doing this ; she is herself 
invisible at those times, and- she often hides him out of our sight. 

' So from above for men ' 
as Empedocles says, 

' She quenched his beams, shrouding a slice of Earth 
Wide as the compass of the glancing Moon ; ' 

as though his light had fallen, not upon another star, but upon 
night and darkness. 

"The view of Poseidonius, that because of the depth of the 
Moon's body the light of the sun is not passed through to us, is 
wrong on the face of it. For the air, which is unlimited, and has 
a depth many times that of the Moon, is filled throughout with 
sunlight and brightness. There is left then that of Empedocles, 

2 9 

that the illumination which we get from the Moon arises in some 
way from the reflexion of the sun falling upon her. Hence her 
light reaches us without heat or lustre, whereas we should expect 
both if there were a kindling by him or a commixture of lights. 
But as voices return an echo weaker than the original sound, and 
missiles which glance off strike with weaker impact, 

' E'en so the ray which smote the Moon's white orb ' 

reaches us in a feeble and exhausted stream, because the force is 
dispersed in the reflexion." 

XVII. Here Sylla broke in:— "All these things no doubt Sylla. 
have their probabilities ; but the strongest point on the other side 
was either explained away or it escaped our comrade's attention : 
which was it ? " 

"What do you mean?" said Lucius. "The problem of the Lucius, 
half-moon I suppose?" 

" Precisely," said Sylla, " for as all reflexion takes place at equal Sylla. 
angles, there is some reason in saying that when the moon is on 
the meridian at half-moon, the light is not carried from her on to 
the earth, but glances off beyond it ; for the sun being then on 
930- the horizon, touches the Moon with his rays, which will therefore, 
being reflected at equal angles, fall on the other side and beyond 
us, and will not send the light here ; or else there will be a great 
distortion and variation in the angle, which is impossible." 

"I assure you," said Lucius, "that point was mentioned also;" Lucius 
and here he glanced at Menelaus the mathematician, as he went 
on : — " I am ashamed, dear Menelaus," he said, "in your presence 
to upset a mathematical proposition which is assumed as a founda- 
tion in all the Optics of Mirrors. But I feel obliged to say," 
he continued, " that the law which requires reflexion in all cases 
to be at equal angles is neither self-evident, nor admitted. It is 
impugned in the instance of curved mirrors, when magnified 
images are reflected to the point of sight. It is impugned also in 
that of double mirrors, when they are inclined towards one another 
so that there is an angle between them, and each of the surfaces 
returns a double image, four images in all, two on the right, two 
on the left, two from the outer surfaces, two dimmer ones deep 
within the mirrors. Plato gives the cause why this takes place. Timceus, 
He has told us that if the mirrors be raised on either side, there 46 A — C. 
is a gradual shifting of the visual reflexion as it passes from one 
side to the other. If then some images proceed directly to us, 
while others glance to the opposite side of the mirrors, and are 
returned thence to us, it is impossible that reflexion in all cases 
takes place at equal angles. They observe that these images meet 
in one point, and further claim that the law of equal angles is 
disproved by the streams of light which actually proceed from the 
Moon to the earth, holding the fact to be more convincing than 
the law. However, if we are so far to indulge beloved Geometry 
as to make her a present of this law, in the first place it may be 


expected to hold of mirrors which have been made accurately 
smooth. But the Moon has many irregularities and rough parts, 
so that the rays proceeding from a large body, when they fall on 
considerable eminences, are exposed to counter-illuminations and 
reciprocal dispersion ; the cross-light is reflected, involved and 
accumulated as though it reached us from a number of mirrors. 
In the next place, even if we allow that the reflexions are pro- 
duced at equal angles upon the actual surface of the Moon, yet, 
when the distance is so great, it is not impossible that the rays 
may be broken or glance round in their passage, so that the light 
reaches us in one composite stream. Some go further, and show 
by a figure that many lights discharge their rays along a line 
inclined to the hypothenuse, as it is called ; but it was not 
possible to construct the diagram while speaking, especially before 
a large audience. 

XVIII. "Upon the whole question," he went on, "I am at 
a loss to see how they bring up the half-moon against us ; the 
point arises equally upon her gibbous and crescent phases. For 
if the Moon were a mass of air or fire which the sun illuminated, 
he would not have left half her sphere always in shadow and 
darkness as seen by us ; but even if he touched her in his circuit 
only in a small point, the proper consequence would follow, she 
would be affected all through, and her entire substance changed 
by the light penetrating everywhere with ease. When wine 
touches water on its extreme surface, or a drop of blood falls 
into liquid, the whole is discoloured at once, and turned to 
crimson. But the air itself, we are told, is not filled with sunshine 
by emanations or beams actually mingling with it, but by a change 
and alteration caused by something like a prick or touch. Now, 
how can they suppose that when star touches star or light light, 
it does not mingle with or alter the substance throughout, but 
only illuminates those points which it touches superficially ? 931. 
The circular orbit of the sun as he passes about the Moon, 
which sometimes coincides with the line dividing her visible and 
invisible parts, and at other times rises to right angles with that 
line so as to cut those parts in two, and in turn be cut by her, 
produces her gibbous and crescent phases by the varying inclina- 
tion and position of the bright part relatively to that in shadow 
This proves beyond all question that the illumination is contact 
not commixture, not accumulation of light but its circumfusion. 
But the fact that she is not only illuminated herself but also sends 
on the image of her brightness to us, allows us to insist the more 
confidently on our theory of her substance. For reflexions do 
not take place on a rarefied body, one formed of subtle particles, 
nor is it easy to conceive light rebounding from light, or fire from 
fire ; the body which is to produce recoil and reflexion must be 
heavy and dense, that there may be impact upon it and resilience 
from it. To the sun himself the air certainly allows a passage, 
offering no obstructions or resistance; whereas if timber, stones, 

3 1 

or woven stuffs be placed to meet his light many cross rays are Lucius. 
caused, and there is illumination all round. We see the same 
thing in the way his light reaches the earth. The earth does not 
pass his ray into a depth as water does, nor yet throughout her 
whole substance as air does. Just as his orbit passes round the 
Moon, gradually cutting off a certain portion of her, so a similar 
orbit passes round the earth, illuminating a similar part of it and 
leaving another unilluminated, for the part of either body which 
receives light appears to be a little larger than a hemisphere. 
Allow me to speak geometrically in terms of proportion. Here 
are three bodies approached by the sun's light, earth, moon, 
air ; we see that the Moon is illuminated like the earth, not like 
the air ; but bodies naturally affected in the same way by the same 
must be themselves similar." 

XIX. When all had applauded Lucius, " Bravo ! " said I, " a Lamprias. 
beautiful proportion fitted to a beautiful theory ; for you must not 
be defrauded of your own." " In that case " he said, with a Lucius. 
smile, " I must employ proportion a second time, in order that 
we may prove the moon like the earth, not only as being affected 
in the same way by the same body, but also as producing 
the same effect on the same. Grant me that no one of the 
phenomena relating to the sun is so like another as an eclipse 
to a sunset, remembering that recent conjunction of sun and 
moon, which, beginning just after noon, showed us plainly many 
stars in all parts of the heavens, and produced a chill in the 
temperature like that of twilight. If you have forgotten it, Theon 
here will bring up Mimnermus and Cydias, and Archilochus, and 
Stesichorus and Pindar besides, all bewailing at eclipse time 'the If ar '- t 
brightest star stolen from the sky ' and ' night with us at mid- 0xy p 841). 
day,' speaking of the ray of the sun as 'a track of darkness ' p r $ 4 Bergk. 
and, besides all these, Homer saying that the faces of men are od.-. xx, 32. 
' bound in night and gloom ' and ' the sun is perished out of the xiv, 162. 

heaven " [around the Moon,] and how this occurs according to *»*i 307- 

nature, 'When one Moon perishes and one is born.' The 
remaining points have been reduced I think, by the accuracy of 
mathematical methods to the one certain principle that night is 
the shadow of earth, whereas an eclipse of the sun is the shadow 
of the moon when it falls within our vision. When the sun sets 
he is blocked from our sight by the earth, when he is eclipsed, by 
932. the moon. In both cases there is overshadowing, in his setting 
it is caused by the earth, in his eclipses by the moon, her shadow 
intercepting our vision. From all this it is easy to draw out a 
theory about the process. If the effect is similar, the agents are 
similar ; for the same effects upon the same body must be due to 
the same agents. If the darkness of eclipses is not so profound, 
let us not be surprised ; the bodies which cause respectively night 
and eclipse are similar in nature, but unequal in size. The 
Egyptians, I believe, say that the moon's bulk is one two-and- 
seventieth part of the earth's, Anaxagoras made her as large as 


Lucius. Peloponnesus ; but Aristarchus proves that the diameter of the 

earth bears to that of the moon a ratio which is less than sixty to 
nineteen, and greater than a hundred and eight to forty-three. 
Hence the earth because of its size removes the sun entirely from 
our sight, the obstruction is great and lasts all night ; whereas if 
the moon sometimes hides the sun entirely, yet the eclipse does 
not last long and has no breadth ■ but a certain brightness is 
apparent around the rim, which does not allow the shadow to be 
deep and absolute. Aristotle, I mean the ancient philosopher, 
after giving other reasons why the moon is more often visibly 
DeCaelo,U,i3, eclipsed than the sun, adds this further one, that the sun is 
p. 293, b. 20. eclipsed by the interposition of the moon [the moon by that of 
the earth and of other bodies also]. But Poseidonius gives this 
definition of what occurs : an eclipse of the sun is his conjunction 
with the shadow of the moon * * * for there is no eclipse, except to 
those whose view of the sun can be intercepted by the shadow of 
the moon. In allowing that the shadow of the moon reaches to 
us, I do not know what he has left himself to say. There can be 
no shadow of a star ; shadow means absence of light, and it is 
the nature of light to remove shadow, not to cause it. 

XX. " But tell me," he went on, "what proof was mentioned 
next?" "That the moon was eclipsed in the same way," I said. 
"Thank you for reminding me," he said. "But now am I to 
turn at once to the argument, assuming that you are satisfied, 
and allow that the moon is eclipsed when she is caught in the 
shadow, or do you wish me to set out a studied proof, with all the 
steps in order?" "By all means," said Theon, "let us have 
the proof in full. For my own part, however, 1 still need to be 
convinced ; I have only heard it put thus, that when the three 
bodies, earth, sun, and moon, come into one straight line eclipses 
occur, the earth removing the sun from the moon, or the moon 
the sun from the earth ; that is, the sun is eclipsed when the moon, 
the moon when the earth is in the middle of the three, the first 
case happening at new moon, the second at her full." 

Lucius replied: "These are perhaps the most important points 
mentioned ; but first, if you will, take the additional argument 
drawn from the shape of the shadow. This is a cone, such as is 
caused by a large spherical body of fire or light over-lapping a 
smaller body also spherical. Hence in eclipses the lines which 
mark off the dark portions of the moon from the bright give 
circular sections. For when one round body approaches another, 
the lines of mutual intersection are invariably circular like the 
bodies themselves. In the second place, I think you are aware 
that the first parts of the moon to be eclipsed are those towards 
the East, of the sun those towards the West, and the shadow of 
the earth moves from East to West, the sun and the moon on the 933. 
contrary move to the East. This is made clear to the senses by 
the phenomena, which may be explained quite shortly. They go 
to confirm our view of the cause of the eclipse. For since the 


sun is eclipsed by being overtaken, the moon by meeting the body Lucius- 
which causes the eclipse, it is likely, or rather it is necessary, that 
the sun should be overtaken from behind, the moon from the 
front, the obstruction beginning from the first point of contact 
with the obstructing body. The moon comes up with the sun 
from the West as she races against him, the earth from the East 
because it is moving from the opposite direction. As a third 
point, I will ask you to notice the duration and the magnitude 
of her eclipses. If she is eclipsed when high up and far from 
the earth, she is hidden for a short time ; if near the earth and 
low down when the same thing happens to her, she is firmly 
held and emerges slowly out of the shadow ; and yet when she is 
low her speed is greatest, when high it is least. The cause of the 
difference lies in the shadow; for being broadest about the base, 
like all cones, and tapering gradually, it ends in a sharp, fine head. 
Hence, if the moon be low when she meets the shadow, she is 
caught in the largest circles of the cone, and crosses its most 
profound and darkest part ; if high, she dips as into a shallow 
pond, because the shadow is thin, and quickly makes her way 
out. I omit the points of detail mentioned as to bases and 
permeations, which can also be rationally explained as far 
as the subject matter allows. I go back to the theory put 
before us founded on our senses. We see that fire shines 
through more visibly and more brightly out of a place in shadow, 
whether because of the density of the darkened air, which does 
not allow it to stream off and be dispersed, but holds its substance 
compressed where it is, or whether this is an affection of our 
senses ; as hot things are hotter when contrasted with cold, and 
pleasures are more intense by contrast with pains, so bright things 
stand out more clearly by the side of dark, setting the imagination 
on the alert by the contrast. The former appears the more 
probable, for in the light of the sun every thing in the nature of 
fire not only loses its brightness, but is outstretched and becomes 
inactive and blunted, since the sun's heat scatters and dissipates 
its power. If then the moon possess a faint, feeble fire, being a 
star of somewhat turbid substance, as the Stoics themselves say, 
none of the effects which she now exhibits ought to follow, but 
the opposite in all respects ; she ought to appear when she is now 
hidden, and be hidden when she now appears ; be hidden, that is, 
all the time while she is dimmed by the surrounding atmosphere, 
but shine brightly out at intervals of six months, or again at 
intervals of five, when she passes under the shadow of the earth. 
(For of the 465 full moons at eclipse intervals, 404 give periods 
of six months, the remainder periods of five). At such intervals 
then the moon ought to appear shining brightly in the shadow. 
But as a fact she is eclipsed and loses her light in the shadow, and 
recovers it when she has cleared the shadow ; also she is often 
seen by day, which shows that she is in no sense a fiery or star- 
like body." 


XXI. When Lucius had said this, Pharnaces and Apollonides 
sprang forward together to oppose. Apollonides made way to 

Pharnaces. Pharnaces, who observed that this is a very strong proof that the 
moon is a star or fire ; for she does not disappear entirely in 
eclipses, but shows through with a grim ashy hue peculiar to 

Apollonides. herself. Apollonides objected to the word "shadow," a term 
always applied by mathematicians to a region which is not lighted, 

Lamprias- whereas the heavens admit of no shadow. "This objection," I 934. 
said, " is contentious, and addressed to the name, not to the 
thing in any physical or mathematical sense. If anyone should 
prefer to call the region blocked by the earth not 'shadow,' but 
'an unlighted place,' it is still necessarily true that the moon when 
it reaches that region [is darkened]. It is merely childish," I went 
on, " not to allow that the shadow of the earth reaches it, since we 
know that the shadow of the moon, falling upon the sight and 
reaching to the earth, causes an eclipse of the sun. I will now 
turn to you, Pharnaces. That ashy charred colour in the moon, 
which you say is peculiar to her, belongs to a body which has 
density and depth. For no remnant or trace of flame will remain 
in rarefied bodies, nor can coal come into existence, without a 
substantial body, deep enough to allow of ignition and to maintain 
it, as Homer has somewhere said : — 

//., ix, 212. ' When fire's red flower was flown, and spent the flames, 

Which smoothed the embers.' 

For coal is evidently not fire but a body submitted to fire, 
and altered by it, which fire is attached to a solid stable mass and 
is permanent there, whereas flames are the kindling and streaming 
away of rarefied fuel matter which is quickly dissolved because it 
is weak. 

"Thus no equally clear proof could exist that the moon is 
earth-like and dense, as this cinder-like colour, if it really is her 
own proper colour. But it is not so, dear Pharnaces ; in the 
course of an eclipse she goes through many changes of complexion, 
and scientific men divide these accordingly by time and hour. If 
she is eclipsed at early evening, she appears strangely black till 
* * hours and a half have elapsed, if at midnight, she emits that 
red and flame-like hue over her surface which we know; after 
seven and a half hours the redness begins to be removed, and at 
last towards dawn she takes a bluish or light-grey hue, which is 
the real reason why poets and Empedocles invoke her as 'grey 
eyed.' Now, people who see the moon assume so many hues as 
she passes through the shadow do wrong in fastening upon one, 
the cinder-like, which may be called the one most foreign to her, 
being rather an admixture and remnant of light which shines 
round her through the shadows, than her own peculiar complexion 
which is black and earth-like. But whereas we see on our earth 
that places in shadow which are near purple or scarlet cloths, or 
near lakes, or rivers open to the sun, partake in the brilliance of 
these colours and offer many varied splendours because of the 


reflexions, what wonder if a great stream of shadow, falling upon 
a celestial sea of light, not stable or calm but agitated by myriads 
of stars and admitting of combinations and changes of every kind, 
presents to us different colours at different times impressed on it 
by the moon ? For a star or a fire could not shew when in 
shadow as black or grey or blue. But our hills and plains and 
seas are coursed over by many coloured shapes coming from the 
sun and by shadows also and mists, resembling the hues produced 
by white light over a painter's pigments. For those seen on the 
sea Homer has endeavoured to find such names as he could, as 
' violet ' for the sea, and ' wine dark ' and again ' purple wave ' and 
elsewhere 'grey sea' and 'white calm.' But the varying colours 
which appear on land at different times he has passed over as 
being infinite in number. Now, it is not likely that the moon has 
one surface as the sea has, but rather that she resembles in 
substance the earth, of which Socrates of old used to tell the See Phado, 
935- story, whether he hinted at the moon, or told it of some lI ° B —C 
other body. For it is nothing incredible or wonderful if, having 
nothing corrupt or muddy in her, but enjoying light from heaven, 
and being stored with a heat not burning or furious, but mild 
and harmless and natural, she possesses regions of marvellous 
beauty, hills clear as flame, and belts of purple, her gold and 
silver not dispersed within her depths, but flowering forth on the 
plains in plenty, or set around smooth eminences. Now, if a 
varying view of these reaches us from time to time through the 
shadow, owing to some change and shifting of the surrounding 
air, surely the moon does not lose her honour or her fame, nor 
yet her divinity, when she is held by men to be holy earth of a 
sort and not, as the Stoics say, fire which is turbid, mere dregs of 
fire. Fire is honoured in barbarous fashions by the Medes and 
Assyrians, who fear what injures them, and pay observance or rites 
of propitiation to that, rather than to what they revere. But the 
name of Earth, we know, is dear and honourable to every Greek, 
we reverence her as our fathers did, like any other god. But, 
being men, we are very far from thinking of the Moon, that 
Olympian Earth, as a body without soul or mind, with no share in 
things which we duly offer as first fruits to the gods, taught by 
usage to pay them a return for the goods they give us, and by 
Nature to reverence that which is above ourselves in virtue and 
power and honour. Let us not then think that we offend in 
holding that she is an earth, and that this her visible face, 
just like our earth with its great gulfs, is folded back into great 
depths and clefts containing water or murky air which the light of 
the sun fails to penetrate or touch, but is obscured, and sends 
back its reflexion here in shattered fragments." 

XXII. Here Apollonides broke in: "Then in the name of Apollonides. 
the Moon herself" he said, "do you think it possible that shadows 
are thrown there by any clefts or gullies, and from thence reach 
our sight, or do you not calculate what follows, and am I to tell 


Apollonides. you ? Pray hear me out though you know it all. The diameter 
of the moon shews an apparent breadth of twelve fingers at her 
mean distance from us. Now, each of those black shadowy 
objects appears larger than half a finger, and is therefore more 
than a twenty-fourth part of the diameter. Very well ; if we were 
to assume the circumference of the moon to be only thirty 
thousand stades, and the diameter ten thousand, on that assump- 
tion each of these shadowy objects on her would be not less than 
five thousand stades. Now, consider first whether it be possible 
for the Moon to have depths and eminences sufficient to cause a 
shadow of that size. Next, if they are so large, how is it that we 
do not see them ? " 

Lamprias. At this, I smiled on him and said, " Well done Apollonides, 

to have found out such a demonstration ! By it you will prove 

Od. xi, 311. that you and I too are greater than the Aloades of old, not at any 
time of day however, but in early morning for choice, and late 
afternoon ; so you really think that when the sun makes our 
shadows prodigious, he presents to our sense the splendid 
inference, that if the shadow thrown be great, the object which 
throws it is enormous. Neither of us, I am sure, has ever been 
in Lemnos, but we have both heard the familiar line, 

Nauck, ' Athos the Lemnian cow's two flanks shall shade.' 

op .70 . p or t j ie s h a( } ow f t h e diff falls, it seems, on a certain brazen 

heifer over a stretch of sea of not less than seven hundred stades. 936. 
Do you think that the height which casts the shadow is the cause, 
forgetting that distance of the light from objects makes their 
shadows many times longer ? Now consider the sun at his greatest 
distance from the moon, when she is at the full, and shews the 
features of the face most expressly because of the depth of the 
shadow ; it is the mere distance of the light which has made 
the shadow large, not the size of the irregularities on the moon. 
Again, in full day the extreme brightness of the sun's rays does 
not allow the tops of mountains to be seen, but deep and hollow 
places appear from a long distance as also do those in shadow. 
There is nothing strange then if it is not possible to see precisely 
how the moon too is caught by the light, and illuminated, and yet 
if we do see by contrast where the parts in shadow lie near the 
bright parts." 

XXIII. "But here," said I, "is a better point to disprove 
the alleged reflexion from the moon ; it is found that those 
who stand in reflected rays, not only see the illuminated but 
also the illuminating body. For instance, when light from water 
leaps on to a wall, and the eye is placed in the spot so illuminated 
by reflexion, it sees the three objects, the reflected rays, the water 
which caused the reflexion, and the sun himself, from whom 
proceeds the light so falling on the water and reflected. All this 
being granted and apparent, people require those who contend 
that the earth receives the moon's light by reflexion, to point out 


the sun appearing in the moon at night, as he appears in the water Lamprias- 
by day when he is reflected off it. Then as he does not so 
appear, they suppose that the illumination is caused by some 
process other than reflexion, and that, failing reflexion, the Moon 
is no earth." 

" What answer then is to be given to them ?" said Apollonides, Apollonides. 
" for the difficulty about reflexion seems to apply equally to 
us." "Equally no doubt in one sense," I answered, "but in Lamprias. 
another sense not at all so. First look at the details of the simile, 
how ' topsy turvy ' it is, rivers flowing up stream ! The water 
is below and on earth, the moon is above the earth and poised 
aloft. So the angles of reflexion are differently formed; in the 
one case the apex is above in the moon, in the other below on 
the earth. They should not then require that mirrors of every form 
and at any distance should produce like reflexions, since they are 
fighting against clear fact. But from those like ourselves who seek 
to shew that the moon is not a fine smooth substance like water, 
but heavy and earth-like, it is strange to ask for a visible appear- 
ance of the sun in her. Why, milk does not return such mirrored 
images, nor produce optical reflexion, the reason being the un- 
evenness and roughness of its parts. How can the moon possibly 
send back the vision of herself as the smoother mirrors do ? We 
know that even in these, if any scratch or speck or roughness 
is found at the point from which the vision is naturally reflected, 
the blemishes themselves are seen, but they do not return the 
light. A man who requires that she should either turn our vision 
back to the sun, or else not reflect the sun from herself to us, is 
a humorist; he wants our eye to be the sun, the image light, 
man heaven ! That the reflexion of the sun's light conveyed to 
the moon with the impact of his intense brilliance should be borne 
back to us is reasonable enough, whereas our sight is weak and 
slight and merely fractional. What wonder if it deliver a stroke 
which has no resilience, or, if it does rebound, no continuity, 
but is broken up and falls, having no store of light to make 
937. up for dispersion about the rough and uneven places. For 
it is not impossible that the reflexion should rebound to the sun 
from water and other mirrors, being still strong and near its point 
of origin ; whereas from the moon, even if there are glancings of 
a sort, yet they will be weak and dim, and will fail by the way 
because of the long distance. Another point, concave mirrors 
return the reflected light in greater strength than the original, and 
thus often produce flames ; convex and spherical mirrors one 
which is weak and dim, because the pressure is not returned from 
all parts of the surface. You have seen, no doubt, how when two 
rainbows appear, one cloud enfolding another, the enveloping bow 
shows the colours dim and distinct, for the outer cloud lying 
further from the eye does not return the reflexion in strength or 
intensity. But enough ! Whereas the light of the sun reflected 
from the moon loses its heat entirely, and only a scanty and 






ineffectual remnant of its brilliance reaches us, do you really 
think it possible that when sight has the double course to travel, 
any remnant whatever should reach the sun from the moon ? No ! 
say I. Look for yourselves," I went on. " If the effects of the 
water and of the moon on our sight were the same, the full moon 
ought to show us images of earth and plants and men and stars, 
as other mirrors do. If, on the other hand, our vision is never 
carried back to these objects, whether because of its own feeble- 
ness or of the roughness of the moon's surface, then let us never 
demand that it should be reflected to the sun." 

XXIV. "We have now," I said, "reported all that was said 
then, and has not escaped our memory. Now it is time to call 
on Sulla, or rather to claim his story, as he was allowed to be a 
listener on terms. So, if it meet your approval, let us cease our 
walk, and take our places on the benches and give him a seated 
audience." This was at once agreed, and we had taken our seats, 
when Theon said : " I want as much as any of you, Lamprias, 
to hear what is now to be said, but first I should like to hear 
about the alleged dwellers in the moon, not whether there are 
any such, I mean, but whether there can be ; for if the thing is 
impossible, then it is also absurd that the moon should be an 
earth ; it will appear that she has been created for no end or 
use, if she bears no fruit, offers no abode to human beings, no 
existence, no livelihood, the very things for which we say that 
she has been created, in Plato's words, ' Our nurse, and of day 
and night the unswerving guardian and maker.' You see that 
many things are said about this, some in jest, some seriously. 
For instance, that the moon hangs poised over the heads of those 
who dwell beneath her, as if they were so many Tantali ; while 
as for those who dwell on her, they are lashed on like Ixions by 
the tremendous speed. Yet hers is not a single motion, but, as 
it is somewhere put, she is a Goddess of the Three Ways. She 
moves in longitude over the Zodiac, in latitude, and in depth ; 
one movement is revolution, another a spiral, the third is strangely 
named ' anomaly ' by scientific men, although there is nothing 
irregular or confused to be seen in her returns to her stations. 
Therefore it is no wonder if a lion did once fall on to Pelopon- 
nesus, owing to the velocity ; the wonder is that we do not see 
every day 

' Fallings of men, lives trampled to the dust,' 

men tumbling off through the air and turning somersaults. Yet 938. 
it is ridiculous to raise a discussion about their remaining there, 
if they can neither come into being nor subsist at all. When we 
see Egyptians and Troglodytes, over whose heads the sun stands 
for the space of one brief day at the solstice and then passes on, 
all but shrivelled up by the dryness of the air around them, is 
it likely, I ask you, that people in the moon can endure twelve 
summers in each year, the sun standing plumb straight above 


them at every full moon ? Then as to winds and clouds and Theon. 
showers, without which plants can neither receive nor maintain 
existence, it is out of the question to conceive of their being 
formed, because the surrounding atmosphere is too hot and too 
rare. For even here the highest mountain tops do not get our 
fierce and conflicting storms, the air being already in turmoil 
from its lightness escapes any such condensation. Or are we 
really to say that, as Athena dropped a little nectar and ambrosia 
into Achilles' mouth when he was refusing nourishment, even so 
the moon, who is called and who is Athena, feeds man by sending 
up ambrosia day by day, in which form old Pherecydes thinks 
that the gods take food ! For as to that Indian root, of which 
Megasthenes tells us that men, who neither eat nor drink but 
are without mouths, burn a little and make a smoke and are 
nourished by the smells, 'how is it to be found growing there 
if there is no rain on the moon ? ' " 

XXV. When Theon had finished : " Well and kindly done," Lamprias. 
I said, " to unbend our brows by your witty argument ; it makes 
us bold in reply, since we have no over harsh or severe criticism 
to expect. It is a very true saying that there is little to choose 
between those who are vehemently convinced in such matters and 
those who are vehemently offended at them and incredulous, and 
will not look quietly into the possibilities. To begin, supposing 
that men do not inhabit the moon, it does not follow that she has 
come into being just for nothing. Why, our earth, as we see, 
is not in active use or inhabited in her whole extent ; but a 
small part of her only, mere promontories or peninsulas which 
emerge from the abyss, is fertile in animals and plants ; of the 
other parts, some are desert and unfruitful owing to storms and 
droughts, while most are sunk under the ocean. But you, lover 
and admirer of Aristarchus that you are, do not attend to Crates 
and his reading : — 

' Ocean, the birth and being of us all, H., xiv, 246. 

Both men and gods, covers the most of earth.' 

However, this is a long way from saying that all has been 
brought into being for nothing. The sea sends up soft exhalations, 
and delightful breezes in midsummer heat ; from the uninhabited 
and icebound land snows quietly melt which open and fertilise all ; 
Earth stands in the midst, in Plato's words, ' unswerving guardian 
and maker of day and night.' Nothing then prevents the moon 
too, though barren of animal life, from allowing the light around 
her to be reflected and to stream about, and the rays of the stars 
to flow together and to be united within her ; thus she combines 
and digests the vapours proceeding from earth, and at the same 
time gets rid of what is scorching and violent in the sun's heat. 
And here we will make bold to yield a point to ancient legend, 
and to say that she has been held to be Artemis, a maiden and 
no mother, but for the rest helpful and serviceable. In the next 


place, nothing which has been said, dear Theon, proves it to be 
impossible that she is inhabited in the way alleged. For her 
revolution is one very gentle and calm ; which smoothes the air, 939. 
and duly blends and distributes it, so that there is no fear of those 
who live there falling or slipping off her. Then passing from 
herself, the changes and variety of her orbit are not due to 
anomaly or confusion, but astronomers make us see a marvellous 
order and progress in it all, as they confine her within circles 
which roll around other circles, according to some not herself 
stirring, according to others moving gently and evenly and with 
uniform speed. For these circles and revolutions, and their 
relations to one another, and to us, work out with very great 
accuracy the phenomena of her varying height and depth and her 
passages in latitude as well as in longitude. As to the great heat 
and continuous charring caused by the sun, you will no longer 
fear these if you will set against the ." . . summer conjunctions 
the same number of full-moons, and the continuity of the 
change, which does not allow extremes to last long, temper- 
ing both extremes, and producing a convenient temperature, while 
between the two the inhabitants enjoy a climate nearly resembling 
our spring. In the next place, the Sun sends down to us through 
our thick and resisting atmosphere heat fed by exhalations ; but 
there a fine and transparent air scatters and distributes the stream 
of light, which has no body or fuel beneath it. As to woods and 
crops, here where we live they are nourished by rains, but in 
other places, as far up as round your Thebes and Syene, the earth 
drinks water which comes out of herself, not from rain ; it enjoys 
winds and dews, and would not, I think, thank us for comparing 
it in fruitfulness with our own, even where the rainfall is heaviest. 
With us plants of the same order, if severely pinched by winter 
frosts, bring forth much excellent fruit, while in Libya, and with 
you in Egypt, they bear cold very badly and shrink from the 
winters. Again, while Gedrosia and Troglodytis, which reaches 
down to Ocean, are unproductive and treeless in all parts because 
of the drought, yet in the adjacent and surrounding sea plants 
grow to a marvellous size and luxuriate in its depths ; some of 
these called ' olive trees,' some ' laurels,' some ' hair of Isis.' But 
the ' Love-come-back ' as it is called, if taken out of the earth, 
not only lives when hung up for as long as you please, but also 
sprouts. Some are sown close on to winter, some in the height 
of summer, sesame or millet for instance; thyme or century, if 
sown in a good rich soil and watered, change their qualities and 
their strength ; they rejoice in drought and reach their proper 
growth in it. But if, as is said, like most Arabian plants they do 
not endure even dews, but fade and perish when moistened, what 
wonder, I ask, if roots and seeds and trees grow on the moon 
which need no rains or snows, but are fitted by nature for a light 
and summer-like atmosphere? Why again may it not be probable 
that breezes ascend warmed by the moon and by the whirl of her 


revolution, and that she is accompanied by quiet ^breezes, which Lamprias. 
shed dews and moisture around, and when distributed suffice for 
the grown plants, her own climate being neither fiery or dried up, 
but mild and engendering moisture. For no touch of dryness 
reaches us from her, but many effects of moisture and fertility, as 
increase of plants, putrefaction of flesh, turning of wine to flatness, 
softening of wood, easy delivery to women. I am afraid of stirring 
940« Pharnaces to the fray again now that he is quiet if I enumerate as 
cases of restoring moisture the tides of the Ocean (as his own 
school describes them), and the fillings of gulfs when their flood 
is augmented by the moon. So I will rather turn to you, dear 
Theon, for you told us in explaining these words of Alcman : — 

' Dew feeds them, born of Zeus and Lady Moon/ Bergk., jg. 

that here he calls the atmosphere Zeus, and says that it is liquefied 
and turned into dew by the moon. Probably, my friend, her 
nature is opposite to the sun's, since not only does he naturally 
consolidate and dry things which she softens and disperses, but 
she also liquefies and cools his heat as it falls upon her from him 
and mingles with herself. Certainly they are in error who hold 
that the moon is a fiery and charred body ; and those who require 
for animals there all the things which they have here seem to lack 
eyes for the inequalities of Nature, since it is possible to find 
greater and more numerous divergencies and dissimilarities between 
animals and animals than between them and the inanimate world. 
And grant that men without mouths and nourished on smells are 
not to be found — I do not think they are — but the potency which 
Ammonius himself used to expound to us has been hinted at by 
Hesiod in the line — 

' Nor yet in mallow and in asphodel O. & D., 41. 

How great the virtue.' 

But Epimenides made it plain in practice, teaching that nature 
always keeps the fire of life in the animal with but little fuel, for 
if it get as much as the size of an olive it needs no more 
sustenance. Now men in the moon, if men there be, are 
compactly framed, we may believe, and capable of being nourished 
on what they get ; for the moon herself they say, like the sun who 
is a fiery body many times larger than the earth, is nourished on 
the humours coming from the earth, and the other stars too 
in their infinite numbers. Light like them, and simple as to 
necessaries, are those animals which the upper region produces 
conceived to be. We do not see such animals, not yet do we see 
that they require a different region, nature, climate. Supposing 
that we were unable to approach the sea or touch it but merely 
caught views of it in the distance, and were told that its water is 
bitter and undrinkable and briny, and then someone said that it 
supports in its depths many great animals with all sorts of shapes, 
and is full of monsters, to all of whom water is as air to us, he 
would seem to be making up a parcel of fairy tales ; just so is it 


Lamprias- with us, it seems, and such is our attitude towards the moon, when 
we refuse to believe that she has men dwelling on her. Her 
inhabitants, I think, must wonder still more greatly at this earth, 
a sort of sediment and slime of the Universe appearing through 
damps, and mists, and clouds, a place unlighted, low, motionless, . 
and must ask whether it breeds and supports animals with motion, 
respiration and warmth. And if they should anyhow have a 
chance of hearing those lines of Homer : 

//., xx, 64. ' Grim mouldy regions which e'en gods abhor/ 

and — 
//., viii, 16. ' 'Neath hell so far as earth below high heaven,' 

they will say they are written about a place exactly such as this, 
and that Hades is a colony planted here, and Tartarus, and that 
there is only one earth — the Moon — being midway between the 
upper regions and these lower ones." 

XXVI. I had scarcely finished speaking when Sylla broke in ; 
Sylla " Stop Lamprias, and shut the door on your oratory, lest you run 

my myth aground before you know it, and make confusion of my 
drama, which requires another stage and a different setting. Now, 
I am only its actor, but I will first, if you see no objection, 941. 
name the poet, beginning in Homer's words : — 

Oct., vii, 244. ' Far o'er the brine an isle Ogygian lies,' 

distant from Britain five days sail to the West. There are three 
other islands equidistant from Ogygia and from one another, in 
the general direction of the sun's summer setting. The natives 
have a story that in one of these Cronus has been confined by 
Zeus, but that he, having a son for gaoler, is left sovereign lord of 
those islands and of the sea, which they call the Gulf of Cronus. 
To the great continent by which the ocean is fringed is a 
voyage of about five thousand stades, made in row-boats, from 
Ogygia, of less from the other islands, the sea being slow of 
passage and full of mud because of the number of streams which 
the great mainland discharges, forming alluvial tracts and making 
the sea heavy like land, whence an opinion prevailed that it is 
actually frozen. The coasts of the mainland are inhabited by 
Greeks living around a bay a£ large as the Maeotic, with its mouth 
nearly opposite that of the Caspian Sea. These Greeks speak of 
themselves as continental, and of those who inhabit our land as 
islanders, because it is washed all round by the sea. They think 
that in after time those who came with Hercules and were left 
behind by him, mingled with the subjects of Cronus, and rekindled, 
so to speak, the Hellenic life which was becoming extinguished 
and overborne by barbarian languages, laws, and ways of life, and 
so it again became strong and vigorous. Thus the first honours 
are paid to Hercules, the second to Cronus. When the star of 
Cronus, called by us the Shining One, by them, as he told us, the 
Night Watcher, has reached Taurus again after an interval of 


thirty years, having for a long time before made preparation for Sylla. 
the sacrifice and the voyage, they send forth men chosen by lot in 
as many ships as are required, putting on board all the supplies 
and stuff necessary for the great rowing voyage before them, and 
for a long sojourn in a strange land. They put out, and naturally 
do not all fare alike ; but those who come safely out of the perils 
of the sea land first on the outlying islands, which are inhabited 
by Greeks, and day after day, for thirty days, see the sun hidden 
for less than one hour. This is the night, with a darkness which 
is slight and of a twilight hue, and has a light over it from the 
West. There they spend ninety days, meeting with honourable 
and kindly treatment, and being addressed as holy persons, after 
which they pass on, now with help from the winds. There are no 
inhabitants except themselves, and those who have been sent 
before them. For those who have joined in the service of the 
God for thirty years are allowed to sail back home, but most 
prefer to settle just in the place where they are, some because 
they have grown used to it, some because all things are there in 
plenty without pain or trouble, while their life is passed in sacri- 
fices and festivals, or given to literature or philosophy. For the 
natural beauty of the isle is wonderful and the mildness of the 
environing air. Some are actually prevented by the god when 
they are of a mind to sail away, manifesting himself to them as to 
familiars and friends not in dreams only or by signs, for many 
meet with shapes and voices of spirits, openly seen and heard. 
Cronus himself sleeps within a deep cave resting on rock which 
looks like gold, this sleep being devised for him by Zeus in place 
of chains. Birds fly in at the topmost part of the rock, and bear 
him ambrosia, and the whole island is pervaded by the fragrance 
shed from the rock as out of a well. The Spirits of whom we hear 
942- serve and care for Cronus, having been his comrades in the time 
when he was really king over gods and men. Many are the 
utterances which they give forth of their own prophetic power, 
but the greatest and those about the greatest issues they announce 
when they return as dreams of Cronus ; for the things which Zeus 
premeditates, Cronus dreams, when sleep has stayed the Titanic 
motions and stirrings of the soul within him, and that which is 
royal and divine alone remains, pure and unalloyed. 

"Now the stranger, having been received here, as he told us, and 
serving the god at his leisure, attained as much skill in astronomy 
as goes with the most advanced geometry ; of other philosophy he 
applied himself to the physical branches. Then, having a strange 
desire and yearning to see " the Great Island " (for so it appears 
they call our world), when the thirty years were passed, and the 
relief parties arrived from home, he said farewell to his friends 
and sailed forth, carrying a complete equipment of all kinds, and 
abundant store of provision for the way in golden caskets. All 
the adventures which befell him, and all the men whose lands he 
visited, how he met with holy writings and was initiated into all 


Sylla. the mysteries, it would take more than one day to enumerate as 

he did, well and carefully in all details. Listen now to those 
which concern our present discussion. He spent a very long time 
in Carthage . . . He there discovered certain sacred parchments 
which had been secretly withdrawn when the older city was 
destroyed, and had lain a long time in the earth unnoticed ; 
and he said that of all the gods who appear to us we ought 
specially to honour the moon with all our substance (and so he 
charged me to do), because she was most potent in our life." 

XXVII. When I marvelled at this, and asked for clearer 
statements, he went on : — " Many tales, Sylla, are told among the 
Greeks about the gods, but not all are well told. For instance, 
about Demeter and Cora, they are right in their names, but wrong 
in supposing that they both belong to the same region ; for the 
latter is on earth, and has power over earthly things, the former is 
in the moon and is concerned with things of the moon. The 
moon has been called both Cora and Persephone, Persephone 
because she gives light, Cora because we also use the same Greek 
word for the pupil of the eye, in which the image of the beholder 
flashes back, as the sunbeam is seen in the moon. In the stories 
told about their wanderings and the search there is an element of 
truth. They yearn for one another when parted, and often 
embrace in shadow. And what is told of Cora, that she is some- 
times in heaven and in light, and again in night and darkness, is 
no untruth, only time has brought error into the numbers ; for it 
is not during six months, but at intervals of six months, that we 
see her received by the earth, as by a mother, in the shadow, and 
more rarely at intervals of five months ; for to leave Hades is 
impossible to her, who is herself a ' bound of Hades,' as Homer 
well hints in the words, 
Od., ix, 563. ' Now to Elysian plains, earth's utmost bound.' 

For where the shadow of the earth rests in its passage, there 
Homer placed the limit and boundary of earth. To that limit 
comes no man that is bad or impure, but the good after death are 
conveyed thither, and pass a most easy life, not, however, one 
blessed or divine until the second death." 

Lamprias(?) XXVIII. "But what is that, Sylla?" "Ask me not of these 
Sylla- things, for I am going to tell you fully myself. The common 943. 

view that man is a composite creature is correct, but it is not 
correct that he is composed of two parts only. For they suppose 
that mind is in some sense a part of soul, which is as great a 
mistake as to think that soul is a part of body ; mind is as much 
better a thing and more divine than soul, as soul is than body. 
Now the union of soul with body makes up the emotional part, 
the further union with mind produces reason, the former the 
origin of pleasure and pain, the latter of virtue and vice. When 
these three principles have been compacted, the earth contributes 
body to the birth of man, the moon soul, the sun reason, just as 


he contributes light to the moon. The death which we die is of Sylla. 

two kinds ; the one makes man two out of three, the other makes 

him one out of two ; the one takes place in the earth which is the 

realm of Demeter, and is initiation unto her, so that the Athenians 

used in ancient times to call the dead ' Demetrians,' the other is 

in the moon and is of Persephone ; Hermes of the lower earth is 

the associate of the one, the heavenly Hermes of the other. 

Demeter parts soul from body quickly and with force ; Persephone 

parts mind from soul gently and very slowly, and therefore has 

been called ' Of the Birth to Unity,' for the best part of man is 

left in oneness, when separated by her. Each process happens piato, 

according to nature, as thus : — It is appointed that every soul, Timceus, end. 

irrational or rational, when it has quitted the body, should wander 

in the region between earth and moon, but not all for an equal 

time ; unjust and unchaste souls pay penalties for their wrong 

doings ; but the good must for a certain appointed time, sufficient 

to purge away and blow to the winds, as noxious exhalations, 

the defilements which come from the body, their vicious cause, 

be in that mildest part of the air which they call 'The Meadows 

of Hades ' ; then they return as from long and distant exile 

back to their country, they taste such joy as men feel here 

who are initiated, joy mingled with much amazement and trouble, 

yet also with a hope which is each man's own. For many 

who are already grasping at the moon she pushes off and 

washes away, and some even of those souls which are already 

there and are turning round to look below are seen to be plunged 

again into the abyss. But those which have passed above, and 

have found firm footing, first go round like victors wreathed with 

crowns of feathers called 'crowns of constancy,' because they 

kept the irrational part of the soul obedient to the curb of reason, 

and well ordered in life. Then with countenance like a sunbeam, 

and soul borne lightly upwards, as here by fire, in the air about 

the moon, they receive tone and force from it, as iron takes an 

edge in its bath ; for that which is still volatile and diffuse is 

strengthened and becomes firm and transparent, so that they are 

nourished by such vapour as meets them, and well did Heraclitus 

say that ' Souls feed on smell in Hades.' 

XXIX. " First they look on the moon herself, her size, her 
beauty, and her nature, which is not single or unmixed, but as it 
were a composition of earth and star. For as the earth has become 
soft by being mixed with air and moisture, and as the blood in- 
fused into the flesh produces sensibility, so the moon, they say, 
being mingled with air through all her depth, is endowed with 
soul and with fertility, and at the same time receives a balance, 
lightness set against weight. Even so the Universe itself, duly 
framed together of things having some an upward tendency, some a 
downward, is freed from all movement of place. This Xenocrates 
apprehended, it would seem, by some divine reasoning, having 
received the suggestion from Plato. For it is Plato who showed Tim., 324. 


Sylla. that every star has been compounded of earth and fire by means 

of intermediate natures given in proportion, since nothing reaches 
the senses into which earth and light do not enter. But Xeno- 
crates says that the stars and the sun are compounded out of fire 944. 
and the first solid, the moon out of the second solid and her own 
air, and earth out of water, fire, and the third solid ; and that as 
an universal law, neither the dense alone nor the rarefied alone 
is capable of receiving soul. So much then for the substance of 
the moon. But her breadth and bulk are not what geometricians 
say, but many times greater. The reason why she but seldom 
measures the shadow of the earth with [three of] her own 
diameters, is not its smallness, but her heat, whereby she increases 
her speed that she may swiftly pass through and beyond the dark 
region, bearing from out it the souls of the good, as they hasten 
and cry aloud, for being in the shadow they no longer hear the 
harmony of heaven. At the same time there are borne up from 
below through the shadow the souls of those who are to be 
punished, with wailing and loud cries. Hence comes the wide- 
spread custom of clanking vessels of brass during eclipses, with 
a din and a clatter to reach the souls. Also the face, as we call 
it, terrifies them, when they are near, so grim and weird is it to 
their sight. Really it is nothing of the kind ; but as our earth has 
gulfs deep and great, one here which streams inwards towards us 
from the Pillars of Hercules, outside the Caspian, and those 
about the Red Sea, even such are those depths and hollows of the 
Moon. The largest of them they call the Gulf of Hecate, where 
the souls endure and exact retribution for all the things which 
they have suffered or done ever since they become spirits ; two 
of them are long, through which the souls pass, now to the parts 
of the moon which are turned toward heaven, now back to the 
side next to earth. The parts of the moon toward heaven are 
called ' the Elysian plain,' those toward earth ' the plain of 
Persephone Antichthon.' 

XXX. " However, the Spirits do not pass all their time upon 
her, they come down here to superintend oracles, take part in the 
highest rites of initiation and mysteries, become guardian avengers 
of wrong doing, and shine forth as saving lights in war and on the 
sea. In these functions, whatever they do in a way which is not 
right, from anger or to win unrighteous favour, or in jealousy, 
they suffer for it, being thrust down to earth again and imprisoned 
in human bodies. From the better of them, those who are about 
Cronus said that they are themselves sprung, as in earlier times 
the Dactyli of Ida, the Corybantes in Phrygia, the Trophoniades 
in Udora of Boetia, and countless others in many parts of the 
inhabited world ; whose temples and houses and appellations 
remain to this day. Some there are whose powers are failing 
because they have passed to another place by an honourable 
exchange. This happens to some sooner, to others later, when 
mind has been separated from soul ; the separation comes by 


love for the image which is in the sun, through it there shines Sylla. 
upon them that desirable, beautiful, divine, and blessed presence 
for which all nature yearns, yet in different ways. For it is 
through love of the sun that the moon herself makes her circuit, 
and has her meetings with him to receive from him all fertility. 
That nature which is the soul remains on the moon, retaining 
traces and dreams of the former life, and of it you may take it 
that it has been rightly said — 

' Winged as a dream the soul takes flight away.' Od., xi, 222. 

Not at the first, and not when it is quit of the body does this 
happen to it, but afterwards when it becomes deserted and 
solitary, set free from mind. Of all that Homer has told us I 
think that there is nothing more divine than where he speaks of 
those in Hades : — 

1 Next was I ware of mighty Hercules, 0d > x h 6o/ - 

His ghost — himself among the immortals dwells.' 

For the self of each of us is not courage, nor fear, nor desire, 
any more than it is a parcel of flesh and of humours ; it is that 
945. whereby we understand and think. The soul being shaped by 
the mind and itself shaping the body and encompassing it upon 
all sides, stamps its form upon it so that even if it is separated 
from both for a long time, yet it possesses the likeness and the 
stamp, and is rightly called an image. Of these, the Moon, as 
has been said, is the element, for they are resolved into her just 
as are the bodies of the dead into earth ; the temperate speedily, 
who embraced a life of quiet and philosophy, for having been 
set free by mind and having no further use for the passions 
they wither away. But of the ambitious, and active, and sensuous, 
and passionate, some are distracted as though in sleep dreaming 
out their memories of life, as the soul of Endymion ; but when 
their restless and susceptible nature starts them out of the 
moon and draws them to another birth she does not suffer it, but 
draws them back and soothes them. For no trifling matter is it, 
nor quiet, nor conventional, when with mind away they get them 
a body by passionate endeavour ; Tityi and Typhones, and that 
Typhon who seized Delphi and confounded the oracle there by 
insolence and force, came of such souls as these, deserted by 
reason, left to the wild wanderings of their emotional part. But 
in course of time the moon receives even these unto herself and 
brings them to order ; then, when the sun again sows mind, she 
receives it with vital power and makes new souls, and, thirdly, 
earth provides a body ; for earth gives nothing after death of what 
she received for birth ; the sun receives nothing, save that he 
receives back the mind which he gives, but the moon both 
receives and gives and compounds and distributes in diverse 
functions ; she who compounds has Eileithyia for her name, she 
who distributes Artemis. And of the three Fates Atropos has 
her station about the sun and gives the first impulse of genera- 
tion ; Clotho moving about the moon combines and mingles, 

4 8 

Sylla. lastly Lachesis, upon the earth, lends her hand, and she has most 

to do with Fortune, for that which is without soul is powerless in 
itself and is affected by others, mind is free from affection and 
sovereign ; soul a compound and a middle term, has, like the 
Moon, been formed by the god, a blend and mixture of things 
above and things below, thus bearing the same relation to the 
Sun which the Earth does to the Moon." 

"Such," said Sylla, u is the story which I heard from the 
stranger, but he had it from the chamberlains and ministers of 
Cronus, as he himself told me. But you and your friends, 
Lamprias, may take the story in what way you will." 



B = Codex Parisinus, No. 1675. 

E = Codex Parisinus, No. 1672. 

W. = Plutarchi Moralia, ed. Daniel Wyttenbach, Oxonii 
1795 — l8o °- 

Bern. = editio Teubneriana, ed. G. N. Bernardakis, Lipsiae 
1888— 1896. 

K. = Plutarchi Chaeronensis libellus De Facie quae in orbe 
Lunae apparet a Ioanne Kepplero Mathematico (an appendix 
to the Somniam printed after the author's death, partly at Sagan, 
partly at Frankfurt, 1634). 

Dreyer= History of the Planetary Systems from Thales to 
Kepler, by J. L. E. Dreyer, Ph.D. (Cambridge, 1906). 


The text of this Dialogue depends entirely upon two 
manuscripts, both at Paris, Nos. 1672 (E) and 1675 (B), both 
of the fifteenth, or late fourteenth, century; E is considered 
the older and better, and it has been suggested that it 
was the original of B. There are no versions or other 
subsidiary authorities. Both are marked by more than 
usual carelessness in copying, which doubtless goes back 
to an earlier stage of transmission, and by a large number 
of lacunae, where the scribe unable to understand the words, 
and being hurried, left blank spaces to await revision, 
which never came. Much was done by such scholars as 
Turnebus and Xylander to correct obvious errors, which 
their wide knowledge of Greek, and of Plutarch's Greek 
in particular, enabled them to do successfully, though often 
at a long distance from the written letter. Wyttenbach, in 
his monumental edition (Oxford, 1795 — 1800) has with 
excellent diligence and judgment collected the fruits of their 
labours, and has often been able to indicate the omitted words 
according to the requirements of the sense, Other scholars, 
as Madvig, Emperius, and the Teubner Editor (Bernardakis) 
have added some good corrections. Any hope of further 
improving the text seems- to lie in two directions, a careful 
examination of the readings of B and E where they can 
be compared with older MSS. such as the Paris D and 
that of Vienna, which might shew the range of probable 
error ; and a scrutiny of the words of the text with 
reference to the subject-matter, which is specially exacting 
where scientific points are touched, and still more so where 
reference is clearly made to earlier writers as Aristotle. 

The work of the early scholars was made more difficult 
by the carelessness with which the first printed edition (said 
to be grounded on MSS. belonging to Cardinal Bessarion, 
then at Florence) was sent to the press. 

I have myself examined, and partly collated, E for 
this Dialogue, and hope to have an opportunity of seeing 
B, which was away when I visited the library. 

Select Passages. 
p. 1, ch. i. — Here Sylla said .... 

The opening words raise a question. They run : — 6 fiev 
ovv ^vWas ravra elire. toj jap i/jL(Z fjivd(p irpocnjKet /catcec- 
dev eariv. 


W. proposes . . . ravra, ewe, tg3 Trap* i/jiol /iv6(p . . . 
which seems right. See the Lex. Platon. for instances of 
this phrase ( = tg3 e/i«). Here it is specially appropriate, 
since Sylla was only the depository of the myth, its 
"actor" (ch. xxvi). Madvig to> irapa^eacp. The transla- 
tion assumes akis, or some such word, before ravra. 

It is noticeable that Quaest. Conviv. Ill, 4, begins with 
the words e O /xev ovv HvWas ravra elire. If the scribe 
remembered this, he may have thought the words formed 
a complete sentence here ; however, the Symposiacs come 
later on in this volume (E) and doubtless in its original. 

Is it possible that the Dialogue on the Face in the 
Moon was preceded by a complete dialogue on some 
kindred subject, which was resumed by the same speakers, 
after the manner of the Symposiacs ? If so, it was omitted 
from the collection at an early stage, since the index gives 
no clue to such a work. But it is curious, and against the 
law of chances, that if the opening pages were simply torn 
out, the sequel should form such a possible beginning. A 
rent usually shows a more ragged edge. Against any such 
supposition, however, it is to be noticed that in E the words 
are hastily written, and presumably were so also in the 
immediate original, ovv is represented by o (no accent or 
breathing) and fxev is only indicated (no accent). But a 
scribe is not likely to use rare abbreviations in the opening 
words of a new dialogue. In the passage quoted from the 
Symposiacs the letters are carefully written, with all the 
breathings and accents. It may be useful to compare the 
abrupt opening of the De sera numinum vindicta. 

To have a prelude. 

aWa el Bel irpoaavafcpovaaadat (E) doubtless 

for TTpoavaKpovcracrOaL. The verb is frequently found in 
Plutarch, sometimes with an accusative of that which is 
introduced as a prelude (so 996 B). The metaphor well 
suits Sylla's way of speaking (compare the opening of 
ch. 26). 

p. 18, ch. iii. — For our sight being reflected back .... 

I have, with some reluctance, adopted en/a?, Turnebus' 
correction of trv$. The idea of a rim bent back, as in a con- 
vex mirror, seems not impossible ; but dvaicXco/jLevr) can 
only naturally be understood here of visual reflexion. 
Kepler strongly approves of o-tyis. 


p. 1 8, ch. iv. 

tt)<? otKov/juevrj^ evpos tcr^? ical /jltj/cos (MSS.). The 
construction halts, and the old editions read c^oucr???. It 
will be observed that the words scan as in a hexameter. 
Ejnpedocles has a line (Diels, fr. 17, 20), teal $i\6t7)s ev 
rolcnv, i<T7] jjbTjKo^ re 7rXaro? re. If the words here are a 
quotation from poetry, the further difficulty that the habit- 
able world, according to Eratosthenes and Ptolemy, and in 
fact, was twice as long as broad, will at least be softened. 

p. 18, ch. iv. — I know, my dear friend, that Hipparchus .... 

KaiTot ye (f)l\e ^"irpiapff, a\\a 7ro\\ot? ovte apea/eec (j)v- 
aioXoywv irepl rr)<; o^ew?, avrr)v ofMOLoirady) Kpaaiv layeiv 
/cal (tv/jltttj^iv et/c6? ecrri fiaWov, rj irXrjyds iiva^ teal cnroTTr)- 
Srjcreis cua? eirXarre rcov arofjiwv 'EiriKovpo<i. 

For wpiafi Turnebus proposed Aapbirpia, which Amyot 
translates, as does Kepler. This is ingenious but impossible, 
since Lamprias is himself the speaker. 

W. is right, as to sense, in suggesting <£i\o? 7' avi)p, 
a\\a . . . . , i.e., " granted that Hipparchus is a sound man, 
yet his opinion is not final on a question of physics, as it is 
on a question of geometry or astronomy." See Introductory 
note, p. 11, and for a fuller statement of this view of Hip- 
parchus on vision see De Plac. Phil. V, 13, p. 901 B. 

I venture to suggest, as possible, — tcairoi ye, </>t\e, Trarrjp 
r/ l7T7ra/o%o9 aarpovopias [fjieyas ?], for which the scribe in- 
stead of leaving a mere gap, as elsewhere, wrote in initial 
or significant letters it .... p I a .... p.. 

Compare ch. 26, p. 941 D {ad init.), where top a is 
written for rov aironrXovv (observe however the accent), also 
o for ovv in the first line of the dialogue (a. v.), though 
better instances should be forthcoming. 

Delambre calls Hipparchus the " Father of Astronomy," 
and the phrase is classical : Cicero calls Herodotus the 
"Father of History" (De Legibus, I, 1). 

For irepl T/j? 6S/re&)<? avrrjv . . . read it. t. o. <o? avrrjv . . . 

p. 19, ch. v. — As Artemis and Athena. 

See p. 39, ch. xxv. Origen c. Cels. viii, 6, has : — KeXaos 
pev ovv (f>rjcriv pdXXov Bo/eecv r)p,d<; aefteiv rov pueyav 6ebv, av 
teal yiXiov teal 'Adrjvav vpvtop,ev. In some doubtful lines of 
the Homeric Hymn to Hermes 99-100, the Moon is the 
daughter of Pallas, "the Pallantean Moon sublime" (Shelley). 


p. 20, ch. vi. — Even Homer. 

The question why Homer called Night doi] is an ever- 
green, and so is Buttmann's excellent article. See also 
Leaf on II. x, 394. The cone is " fine and narrow" indeed, 
the angle at the apex being really little more than half a 
degree, and not much blunter on the ancient figures. 

p. 20, ch. vi. — As broad at its shortest . . . 

17 fipaxvrdTT]. Madvig (Adv. I, p. 664) seems right in 
reading fj. There is exaggeration. The cone of shadow 
where crossed by the Moon has a diameter about three- 
quarters that of the earth, and tapers continuously to its 

p. 21. — Taprobanes, i.e., natives of Ceylon. 

p. 21. — The earth .... might naturally be moved by its own 
iv eight. 

tijv he <yf]v ei/co? rjv /xovw too /3apuvovTt Ktvelv. I 

have followed W. in the translation, but \xeveiv, given in his 
text, seems necessary, as Ktvelv cannot — KivelaOai — "The 
earth would naturally have nothing but its own weight to 
keep it at rest." 

p. 22, ch. vii. — That segments of beams, etc. 

A beam is sawn into two segments, on, or near, the 
earth's surface. The two segments move simultaneously 
towards the central point, but in converging, not parallel, 
lines {cp. Arist. de Caelo, II, 14, 296* 18). If there is an 
appreciable gap between them (say -^ T) inch) they will at 
first move freely, but soon (after 34 miles) each will feel 
pressure from without inwards, and there will be jamming 
and recoils for the rest of the 4000 miles. I am not sure 
whether any change in yrjs is necessary ; to/u?}? has been 
suggested. I am aware that other explanations may be 
given ; the above appeared to me to suit the banter of the 
Stoics in the passage generally. It was suggested by the 
words of Aristotle quoted above in this note. 

p. 22, ch. vii. — Up down, down up, where topsy-turvy reigns. 

Tpairefx-naXLv is Bernardakis' bright suggestion for 
Tfjairivra ttuXlv. (See below on ch. 23). 

Professor Henry Jackson has pointed out that the words 
here form a hexameter. 

ravo) [wavTa] kutco, real irdvTa rpa7T6/x7ra\iv elvai. 


p. 22, ch. vii. — Out of sympathy with earth . . . 

avfiiraOeia needs no change. It is a Stoic word. 

p. 22, ch. vii. — The down part of his body. 

dvafcvTTTov avTov to . . . elvcu — ay. to vmtov ? 

p. 23, ch. ix. — Like to the nave of a ivagon she glances . . . 

apfACLTos cacnrep l'%vo<; dveXlaaeTai 

qy., apficLTOs bscnrep del xvor) acro-eTai . . . ? See Diels, 
who prints ap/jLCLTos &>? irepl x vo ^V iXla-aeTat. 

p. 23, ch. ix. — Why, she seldom clears the earth's shadow, 
though she rises but little, the illuminating body being 
so vast. 

I have retained aipofxivr), altered by W. (or by older 
editors ; see Amyot's tr.) to alpo/jbevrjv. The point is, not 
the narrowness of the shadow (which would weaken the 
argument), but the trifling angle (5 ) at which the moon 
rises from the sun's path in order to avoid eclipse. Com- 
pare fMT] vTrepalpovcra four lines lower, and De Genio Socratis, 
591 C, aeXrjvi] be . . , . (f)€vy€C ttjv %Ti>ya fXLKpov virep- 

tgG TraiAfxeyeOes elvai is not an instrumental dative after 
this participle, but one of attendant circumstance (see the 
instances quoted in Matthiae's Grammar, 541). She has to 
rise but little, in view of the fact that the illuminant is so vast 
and so distant, and the shadow so finely tapering. The 
physical fact is the same in either case (see ch. vi, p. 20) ; 
the logic is not very distinct, but is now not against the 
speaker's view. The moon clears the earth's shadow, not 
" seldom," but five times out of six and oftener, if the whole 
number of full moons be considered. But Plutarch refers 
only to what he calls, in ch. xx, p. 33, "full moons at 
eclipse intervals" (iK\€i7rifcai irava-eXrjvot), when the moon 
may be expected to be eclipsed, and (in homely language) 
" makes her shot " to clear the shadow, but seldom (once 
out of four or five times) succeeds. 

p. 24, ch. x. — On this side and on that. 

dXXa Kal itcetvy ical TavTrj Sluo-tt]/jlci 8qt€ov . . . So 
Madvig (Adv. I, p. 665) for dXXa Kal kivt)tlko . . . TavTy 
Sid<TT7]/jLa to Seov. 

p. 25, ch. xii. — " Where neither sun's bright face is separate 
SielBeTac Mullach, for SeStTTeTat. 


p. 27, ch. xvi. — We do know that universally the Better 
prevails over the law of Stress. 

I have followed W.'s iv ttclvtI 8e tcparel to @i\Tt,ov rov 
tcaT7)vay/ca<TfjLevov, for iv iravri Be KparetTac to /3&\ti,ov to 
/caT7]vay/cao~fjLevov. The terms are from the Timaeus, where 
avdy/crj means the positive laws of nature, and the participle 
the condition of things according to those laws. See Plat. 
Tim., ch. XVII, p. 47 E, and Archer Hind's notes. But the 
question of reading is difficult. 

p. 27, ch. xvi. — A circle of eternal and never-ending revolu- 

aihiov, Emperius for oY ov. 

p. 28. — She quenched his beams. 

aireo-Kehaaev, Xylander for aireaKevaaev. 

p. 29, ch. xvii. — Four images in all . . . within the mirrors. 

I have translated, or paraphrased, the text suggested 
by W., but incline to think that the words given by the 
MSS. need little change, though the author has not ex- 
pressed himself clearly. Mirrors inclined to each other at 
an angle of about 6o° will shew two images of (say) a face 
in which the right eye of the face appears on the proper 
left side in the image (being opposite the right eye of 
the real face), two dimmer ones in which right eye is in 
its true place (Be^co^aveU). There will actually be a fifth 
image at the angle, also 8e^co<j)av?j<i. (At 90 there would 
be three images, and at 45 seven.) See Ganot's Physics, 
516. Plato does not discuss " folding mirrors," nor, appar- 
ently, Euclid or Ptolemy. The simplest change would be 
to strike out apLarepois, and understand r. egcoOev /jl. of 
the parts of the mirrors remote from the inner angle. The 
case of the first -mentioned images is the normal one 
of reflexion in a mirror, so no epithet is needed (as 
api<TT€po<l>avel<;). See also p. II. 

It may readily be shewn, by drawing the figure, that all 
the results stated in the text, and also the omitted case of 
the image in the angle, follow from the law of reflexion at 
equal angles. 

p. 29, ch. xvii. — They observe that these images, etc. 

6aa<; 6p.6ae ^(apovvTe^ aljcovo-LV. qy. oaas ofMoae 'xcapelv 
opoivres, u^tovGLv} i.e., They observe that all these images 


meet in one point, i.e., the eye of the observer, and further, 
etc. For ofxoa-e j^copelv, cp. tc3 cjmotI iravTa^ocre ^«poO^Tt, 
p. 930 F. 

p. 30. — Kepler supplies the figure. See diagram at the end. 

p. 32, ch. xix. — The moon by that of the earth and of other 
bodies also. 

tt)v Se a-ekrjvrjv .... (two gaps of about six cmm. in 
all). I have supplied the sense of the missing words from 
Ar. de Caelo, II, 13, 293, 15 6 : as rrjv 8e o\ ical aWcov a-cofid- 
rcov (or aXkaov re (KOfxarcov teal T77? avTi^dovosi). 

An eclipse of the sun is his conjunction with the shadow 
of the moon .... 

€tc\6iyjrL$ 6(TTLV rjXiov avvoSos aiaas ae\r]V7]<i 779 rrjv 
etcXeiyfnv .... 

So the editions — etcXeiyjriv is followed by a gap of 
four cmm. (eighteen letters) in E. 

W. refers to a passage of Cleomedes II, 4, which con- 
tains a definition of a solar eclipse probably drawn from 
Poseidonius. He suggests aicia for <r^a?. 

Bernardakis agrees as to this dative, but does not print 
it, and further suggests 7% for ^? (for his method of filling 
up the gaps, see his note). 

R. Kunze, in Rhein. Mns., vol. lxiv (1909), p. 635, 
justifies the dative after avvoSos from Platonic instances 
{Polit. 298 D and Leg. XII, 949 E) : he gives at length the 
passage from Cleomedes, in which solar and lunar eclipses 
are contrasted : the former phenomenon is not avrov rov 
deov Trados aWa tt)? rf/jLerepas oyjreax; — the moon blocks 
our vision, and so we do not see him — whereas an eclipse 
of the moon is avrr)? r»}? deov TraOos, she plunges into the 
earth's shadow, and is obscured. The writer calls attention 
to the use of the Stoic word irdOo^. 

The change of aicia into ovaa? in transcription does not 
seem very probable, and though the point of the quotation 
from Poseidonius is the argumentum ad hominem, grounded 
on his use of the words aieta creXr;^? at all, it is unlikely 
that he would have given so insipid a definition of a solar 
eclipse as that it is " a concurrence of the sun with the 
moon's shadow," a fact known to Anaxagoras. Nor is the 
parenthesis introduced by yap, which doubtless formed 
part of the definition quoted, accounted for. 


According to my own record, E has oh, not 979. I 
should not, however, wish to build upon this without 
verification, and without knowing the reading of B. But 

I would suggest (1) that ttjv etcXeiyfnv may have come into 
the text from the margin, being a gloss upon ToSe to ttciOos, 
(2) that 979 or 06? conceals some reference to our eyesight or 
our earth. The whole passage will then be in outline : — 

II Poseidonius, in defining an eclipse of the sun as a meeting 
of the moon's shadow with our vision (for an eclipse is only 
an eclipse to those on the earth who are in the narrow 
track of the moon's shadow) gave his case away." 

Poseidonius is quoted for short and incisive definitions, 
e.g., de plac. phil, Ill, I, p. 893 A, and a clause introduced 
by yap is found in some of them (see his remains, ed. 
Bake, 1820). 

p. 34, ch. xxi. — Till three and a half hours .... (I had 
too hastily removed this numeral from the text.) 
It is pointed out to me that all the notes of time may 
be taken as referring back to moon-rise (3J hours from, 
say, 6 p.m., midnight, half-past one a.m., dawn). The diffi- 
culty is that dvLcrrarai cannot = " ostenditur " (W.) or 
" oritur" (Kepler), but must = " s'en va" (Amyot). For 
a forcible description of the successive phenomena of a 
lunar eclipse, see Herschel's Outlines, p. 421. 

p. 36, ch. xxi. — So you really think . . . 

oi€t tcls tr/cta? . . . (MSS.) el oUl Emperius. 

p. 36, ch. xxii. — Athos the Lemnian cows .... 

This line of Sophocles shows how true to fact, and 
familiar to Greek imagination, was the second stage in the 
passage of the "courier flame" in Aeschylus {Again., 285). 
Mount Athos is 6400 feet high, and its shadow might fall 
over the sea for nearly 100 miles. The actual distance is 
about fifty. See Tozer's Islands of the Aegean, p. 239, and 
History of Ancient Geography, p. 328, and the authorities 
quoted there. Lamprias allows himself to use a sophism. 
The length of a mountain's shadow in space would be 
longer, as would that of the earth, if the illuminant were 
further off, but this is of no practical importance to a large 
body on the earth. 

W. translates aTroaraa^ by " obliqua distantia." If this 
means " angular distance " or elevation above the horizon, 
it makes the sense good, but I can find no authority for 


such an use. Kepler points out a further fallacy, due to 
ambiguous use of terms in the application of the geometrical 
truth to the mountains and valleys of the moon. 

p. 37, ch. xxiii. — . . . how topsy-turvy it is. 

a>9 dvco Trora/jLMV ical rpairev irakiv. rpaTrefiirakiv 
Bernardakis from Meineke. The word is quoted by 
Photius from Pherecrates (Meineke Com. Frag., II, p. 354). 

p. 37, ch. xxiii. — It is obscured in the reflexion. 
avaKXaaOev tvttovtcu — rvcfrXovrai Emperius. 

p. 38, ch. xxiv. — A seated audience .... 

Plutarch perhaps remembers the matchless humour of 
the Protagoras of Plato. At any rate the reader should 
refer to it. See ch. viii of that dialogue, end. 

p. 38, ch. xxiv. — If a lion did once . . . 

Doubtless from a confusion between \t? a lion and \a? 
a stone, but in an earlier stage of the saying, so that the 
text (as Kepler remarks) need not be altered. 

p. 39, ch. xxiv. — And nourished by the smells .... 

How the inhabitants of the moon feast by smell is fully 
explained in Cyrano de Bergerac's Histoir-e comique des 
etats et empires de la Lune. In this very ingenious book 
reference is frequently made to Plutarch, especially to the 
De Genio Socratis, never, I think, to the De Facie. 

p. 40, ch. xxv. — If you will set against the .... sunwier 

rats evhetca Oeptvals crvvohots (MSS.) is unintelligible, 
nor is much gained by reading SvcoSetca (Kepler). ay., rah 
evdaBe depivals ovvoSois, i.e., " if you will set against our 
summer conjunctions the full moons (i.e., the summers of 
the inhabitants in the moon) ? avvoSos cannot properly 
be used for the summer solstices, but as it is properly 
used of the moon's summer periods, it may pass in the 

p. 41, ch. xxv. — But many effects of moisture .... 

See Ouaest. Sympos., Ill, 10. Some curious instances, 
evidently taken from observation, will be found in ch. xxii 
of The King's Own, by Captain Marry att. 


p. 42, ch. xxvi. — Is left sovereign lord of these islands. 

Trapa/carco icelaOai. I have ventured to render avro- 
/cpdropa fcetadac (or KaXelaOai). The noun is of very 
frequent occurrence in Plutarch. 

p. 43. — Those who have joined in the service of the God 
for thirty years. 

Tpia/caiSe/ea MSS. rpcaKovra W., following earlier sug- 
gestion — qy. rd Tjok Setca ? 

p. 43. — When sleep has stayed the Titanic motions .... 

I have followed Madvig's eire&dv iravar] (Adv. I, 
p. 664) for the elvai he dvdaraatv of the MSS. 

p. 44, ch. xxvi. — He spent a very long time .... potent in 
our life. 

7r\el<JT0V yap iv Kap^rjSovt ypovov SLerpiyjrev, are Br) 
Trap fjfuv /jbeydXas eftovTOS /cai rivas, ore rj rrporepa ttoXl? 
arraiWvTo, hufrdepas iepas vireKKOfjucrdeicras Kpvtya teal 81a- 
Xadovaas ttoXvv y^povov iv yfj Ket/meva^ igevpcbv, tcjp re 
tyaivofjLevwv Oe&iv e<j)r} ^pr/vat, kcil jjlol rrapeKeXevero ri/xdv 
Btac^epovTWs ttjv aeXijvTjv, &><» tov (3lov /cvpicoraTrip ovaav 

So E (rivas, as Bernardakis prints, not Tt/ia?, as W.). 
I would venture to propose somewhat as follows : — 

rrXelarov .... hierpi^ev, are 8r) nap r/fxlv fxeraXXa 
eycov 0? tcai Ttvas .... e^evpeov, tojv re cfraivofievcov 
(qy. $olvikikwv ?) decov e<f>r) xPV aT VP ia elvai, ical /jlol .... 

" He spent a long time in Carthage, as being a mine 
owner in our country; a man who had also once discovered 
certain sacred parchments which had been secretly with- 
drawn when the older city was destroyed, and had lain a 
long time in the earth unnoticed, and which he said were 
oracles of the (Phoenician ?) gods ; and he charged me to 
pay special honour to the moon, as being most potent in 
(closely connected with) our life." 

fjueydXas is very like fieraXXa, a and X being almost 
identical as written in E. 

fieraXXa ex<*v is hardly probable, and the hiatus is 
against it. More likely some rarer participle, such as 
Xtovevcov, though p.eraXXa seems only to be used of mines, 
not of metals. 


exo/JLevrjv is written underneath fcvpLcoTarrjv ovcrav in E, 
and one phrase may have been a gloss on the other, but it 
would be like Plutarch to use both (e^eo-flat in this sense 
is a favourite verb), perhaps connected by teal. 

p. 45. ch. xxviii. — Of the birth to unity, ixovoyev^. The 
Timceus ends with the words /xovoyevrj^ wv. 

p. 46, ch. xxix. — The reason why . . . increases her speed. 

I have translated W.'s Oep/jLOTrjTos (so E) f) iweiyei. For 
tols we should surely read rptalv (see ch. vi, and pp. 10-11). 
Sylla's argument is not very easy to follow ; oXiydfcts 
may mean " seldom " or " only seldom," and afjuKporrjTo^ 
may refer either to the Moon or to the Shadow. 

p. 48, ch. xxv. — But you and your friends. . . . 

The formula with which the myth is dismissed is 
Platonic. Compare, e.g., the end of the Gorgias : " this 
may be all an old wife's tale ; then find something better." 
(See Professor Stewart's Myths of Plato, especially the 
chapter on the Phaedrus.) 


Of Persons mentioned or referred to in the De Facie. 

[The numerals refer to pages.] 

Aeschylus, 20, 38. 

Agesianax, 17, 18. 

Alcman, 41. 

Ammonius, 41. 

Anaxagoras, 28, 31. 

Archilochus, 31. 

Aristarchus of Samos, 20, 23, 32. 

Aristarchus of Samothrace, 39. 

Aristotle, 17, 32. 

Cleanthes, 20. 
Clearchus, 17, 18, 19. 
Crates, 39. 
Cydias, 31. 

Democritus, 28. 

Empedocles, 17, 19, 23, 25, 28, 34. 
Epicurus, 18. 
Epimenides, 41. 

Heraclitus, 45. 

Hesiod, 25, 41. 

Hipparchus, 18. 

Homer, 20, 34, 35, 42, 44, 47. 

Ion Chius, 28. 

Megasthenes, 39. 
Metrodorus, 27. 
Mimnermus, 31. 

Farmenides, 25, 28. 

Pherecydes, 39. 

Pindar, 31. 

Plato, 25, 29, 35, 38, 39, 45. 

Poseidonius, 28, 32. 

wSophocles, 21, 36. 
Stesiehorus, 31. 

Xenocrates, 45, 46. 




The Somnium Scipionis formed the concluding part of the Vlth 
and last book of Cicero's lost dialogue De Republica. It is not 
contained in the Vatican palimpsest published by Cardinal Mai in 
1822, and we owe its recovery to the Commentary of Macrobius 
(4th or 5th century a.d.), and to manuscripts in which Cicero's 
text has been extracted thence. The dialogue is supposed to 
take place in 129 B.C., and the principal speaker is P. Cornelius 
Scipio ^Emilianus (Africanus Minor), who met with his death in 
the same year. It will be found interesting to compare the opening 
of the IXth Book of Lucan, immediately following the death of 

IX. When I arrived in Africa to join M' Manilius, the 
Consul, as a tribune, you will remember, of the Fourth Legion, I 
made it my first duty to meet Masinissa, a prince to whom our 
family was, for good reasons, deeply attached. The old man 
embraced me when I came, and burst into tears ; presently he 
looked upward and said, " I thank thee, O Sun most high, and 
you ye other Heavenly powers, that before I pass out of this life 
I behold, within my kingdom, and in this house, P. Cornelius 
Scipio, whose very name is a refreshment to me, so imperishably 
planted in my mind is the memory of him who bore it, the best 
and stanchest of mankind." I asked him about his kingdom, 
and he asked me about our Republic. We had much to say on 
either side, and so that day passed. 

X. We were entertained with royal splendour, and "talked 
and talked till night was growing old." The old man spoke of 
nothing but Africanus, and remembered all his deeds, and even 
the things which he had said. Then we parted for our chambers. 
I was tired with my journey, and had stayed up till very late, and 
a deeper sleep than was my wont enfolded me. I suppose it was 
because of what we had been saying, for so it is that our thoughts 
and conversations give birth in sleep to something like what 
Ennius writes of Homer, that Homer of whom he used to think 
and speak so often in his waking hours. Be that as it may, 
Africanus presented himself to me in his well-known form, to me 
more familiar from his bust than in life. At first I shuddered 
when I recognised him ; but he said, Be thyself, Scipio, and 
have no fear, and store in thy memory what I am about to say. 

XI. Seest thou that city, once compelled by my arms to 
obey the Roman people, which is now renewing the old warfare, 

* From the text of F. A. Nobbe. 


and cannot abide quiet (here he pointed to Carthage from a lofty 
place where we stood, full of stars and bright with their clear 
lustre), Carthage, to attack which thou art now come, almost a mere 
common soldier. In two years' time thou shalt return as Consul, 
and level it to the ground ; and the name which now thou bearest 
by inheritance from me shall be thine by right of thine own arm. 
Carthage destroyed, thy triumph celebrated, a year of censorship 
passed, Egypt, Syria, Asia, Greece traversed by thee as governor, 
thou shalt be chosen Consul a second time in absence, shalt 
raze Numantia, and close a mighty war. But when thou shalt 
be borne to the Capitol in thy chariot thou shalt find the state 
disordered by my grandson's counsels. 

XII. Here, Africanus, it will be thy duty to show to thy 
country the light of thy spirit, genius, and policy. But at this 
crisis I see the path of the Fates part, as it were, into two; for 
when thy life shall have completed eight times seven windings 
and returns of the Sun in his orbit, and those two numbers, each 
known as a full one, yet each for a different reason, shall by their 
natural circuit have rounded for thee their fateful sum, the gaze 
of the whole state shall be fixed on thee alone, and on thy name ; 
to thee the Senate, to thee shall all good men look, the allies, the 
Latins ; thou shalt be the only stay on which the safety of the 
state may lean ; in a word, thou must be dictator, thou must 
bring order to the commonwealth, if so be thou shalt have escaped 
the unholy hands of thy kindred. 

Here Laelius cried aloud, and the others uttered a deeper 
groan ; but Scipio gently smiled and said, I pray you, wake me 
not from my sleep, nor break the vision ; hear what remains ! 

XIII. But, Africanus, that thou mayest be more alert to 
defend the Republic, understand this, that for all who shall have 
preserved, or helped, or advanced their fatherland, a certain place 
is set apart in Heaven, where they may enjoy life and bliss for 
ever ; since nothing is more to the mind of that Sovereign God 
Who rules this Universe — nothing, I mean, of all which passes on 
the Earth — than the combinations and assemblages of men in 
lawful union, which are called states. From such a place in 
Heaven do rulers and preservers of states go forth, and to it they 

XIV. Here I, though greatly moved by the fear, not of 
death, but of foes in my own household, found voice to ask 
whether he, and Paulus my father, and others of whom we thought 
as dead and gone, were living still. Assuredly, he said, they live 
who have flown forth from their bodily fetters as from prison ; 
your life, as you call it, is death, Look up and see Paulus, thy 
father, he comes towards thee. When I saw my father I broke 
into floods of tears; but he embraced me and kissed me, and 
bade me not to weep. 

6 7 

XV. As soon as I could restrain my tears and find voice to 
speak, Tell me, said I, my father, most reverend and best, since 
this is life, as I hear Africanus say, why do I linger on this 
Earth, why not hasten hither to you ? Not so, he answered ; until 
that God, Whose temple is all which thou beholdest here, shall 
have freed thee from the charge of the body, the way hitherward 
cannot lie open for thee. Men are brought into being for this 
end, that they may have in their care the globe called Earth, 
which thou seest in the middle part of this heavenly space ; to 
them a soul is given from those eternal fires which ye call 
constellations and stars, rounded to perfect spheres, instinct with 
divine minds, performing their due revolutions with wondrous 
speed. Therefore, Publius, it is for thee and for all good men to 
let the soul remain as guardian of the body, and not without His 
word by Whom that soul was given, to pass from out the life of 
men, lest ye be found guilty of deserting that human function 
which God assigned to you. Do thou, Scipio, like this thy 
grandfather, and like me who begat thee, observe justice and 
loyalty. Though loyalty is a great matter towards parents and 
kinsfolk, it is greatest of all towards country. Such a life is the 
path to Heaven, to this assembly of those who have lived their 
lives, and now, released from the body, inhabit the place which 
thou seest. 

XVI. Now this was that circle of dazzling splendour, set in 
flames, yet brighter than the flames, which you call, as the Greeks 
have taught you, the Milky Way. As I gazed out from it, all 
which I saw was passing wonderful. There were such stars as 
from this place we have never seen, and such magnitudes as we 
have never suspected to exist ; the smallest of them all was she 
who, last in Heaven and nearest to Earth, shone with borrowed 
light. The globes of the stars easily surpassed the Earth in size ; 
indeed Earth herself appeared to me so small that I felt ashamed 
of our empire, wherewith we touch a mere point of her surface. 

XVII. As I gazed more closely upon her, How long, said 
Africanus, how long will thy mind be fixed upon the ground 
below ? Seest thou not into what heavenly precincts thou art 
come ? All is interwoven with nine orbits, or rather nine spheres ; 
one is heavenly and lies on the extreme outside, and enfolds all 
the rest, God Himself most high, confining and containing all 
the others. On it are fixed the eternal courses of the stars 
which revolve around us ; beneath it lie the seven which travel 
backwards in the opposite direction to the Heaven itself, of 
which one sphere belongs to the star named on Earth as Saturn ; 
next comes the brightness, prosperous and salutary to mankind, 
called after Jupiter ; then, red and dreadful to our Earth, that 
which ye call the star of Mars ; next, and nearly in the middle 
space, the Sun has his station — leader, prince and governor of the 
other lights, the mind and controlling influence of the Universe, 


so vast that he illuminates and fills all with his light. Two follow 
him as his companions, one the path of Venus, the other of 
Mercury ; in the lowest orbit revolves the Moon, kindled by the 
rays of the Sun. Below her is nothing that is not mortal and 
perishable, except the minds given to the human race by the 
bounty of the gods ; above the Moon all things are eternal, for 
the Earth, which comes ninth and is the centre, never moves, and 
is lowest of all, and towards it all masses are borne by their own 

XVIII. I gazed bewildered, and when I recovered myself 
I said : What is the sound which fills my ears, so loud and so 
sweet ? That sound, he said, is formed at intervals unequal yet 
divided on a fixed scale, by the impulse and movement of the 
spheres themselves ; it mingles high notes with low, and makes 
the various harmonies flow smoothly ; it could never be that such 
mighty motions should speed in silence, and Nature wills that 
extremes on one side give a low, on the other a high sound. 
Therefore that highest orbit in Heaven which bears the stars, 
inasmuch as it revolves at greater speed than the others, moves to 
a shrill and eager note, this lowest lunar orbit to a very low one ; 
for the Earth comes ninth, motionless and fixed in the lowest 
station, holding the middle point of the Universe. Those eight 
orbits, among which two are in effect identical, make seven tones 
with distinct intervals, this number seven being the knot which 
ties together almost all things. Artists have imitated this on 
strings and with the voice, and so have opened to themselves a 
return to this place, as have those others of excellent genius who, 
in their human life, have applied themselves to heavenly themes. 
Overcharged with this sound, the ears of men have grown deaf to 
it ; there is no sense among you more easily blunted. So it is 
where the Nile hurls himself from lofty mountains to the falls they 
call Catadupa ; the tribe which dwells about the place lacks the 
sense of hearing because of the greatness of the sound. This 
sound of the entire Universe revolving at utmost speed is so 
great that the ears of men cannot take it in, even as ye cannot 
look full at the Sun, and your sense of sight is overpowered by his 
rays. I listened, and admired, yet from time to time my eyes 
returned to Earth. 

XIX. Then Africanus : — I perceive that thou art even now 
gazing on the dwelling-place and home of men ; if that seem to 
thee small, as small indeed it is, look always to these Heavenly 
sights, despise the things below, which are but mortal. Take 
thine own self. What fame from human life is it possible for thee 
to attain, or what glory worth the seeking ? Thou seest that the 
inhabited parts of Earth are scanty strips and narrow ; and even 
among these specks, to call them so, which are habitable, vast 
solitary tracts are interspersed ; and that not only are the dwellers 
upon Earth so effectually parted that no stream of intercourse can 

6 9 

flow from these to those, but also some lie obliquely to you, some 
laterally, some right opposite, and from them ye can certainly 
expect no glory. 

XX. Dost thou behold the same Earth, bound and girdled 
by sundry belts ; of which two, most remote from one another, 
and resting on either apex of Heaven, are stiff with ice and frost ; 
the middle, which is the largest, is scorched by the burning heat 
of the Sun. Two are habitable, and of them the southernmost, 
whose inhabitants plant their steps exactly opposite to yours, is of 
no concern to you; this other one towards the north, your dwelling- 
place, touches you — see how slenderly. For all the Earth in- 
habited by you, narrow in upward extension, wider from side to 
side, is but a small island of a sort, washed all round by that sea 
which you call The Atlantic, The Great Sea, The Ocean ; see how 
small a water it is to bear so great a name. From these lands, 
the known and habitable, has thy name, or that of any of our 
race, ever yet been able to climb over this Caucasus, or to swim 
over that Ganges? Who in the far-off regions which remain 
towards the rising or the setting Sun will hear thy name, or who 
in the parts of the north or of the south ? Cut all these off, and 
thou seest in very truth within what narrow limits it is that thy 
glory is ambitious to be spread. The very men who speak of thee 
now — how long will they speak ? 

XXI. Again, suppose that the offspring of men yet to be 
should wish to pass on in order the praises of each of us which 
their fathers have told them, yet, because of destruction by flood 
and fire, which must occur within a given cycle, the glory which 
we may attain cannot be eternal, it cannot even be for long. 
Or, again, what avail that there shall be talk of thee among men 
yet to be born, when there has been none among men born before 
our time ? They were not fewer, and certainly they were better 
men than we. 

XXII. Consider, too, that even among those by whom our 
name may possibly be heard, one single year is beyond the 
memory of any one. For men in common speech measure a year 
simply by the return to his place of our Sun, that is of a single 
star ; but only when all the stars shall have returned to the point 
from which they once started, and shall have repeated at that long 
interval an entire measured year, may we truly say that a year has 
come round ; how many generations of men are contained therein 
I hardly dare say. For as the Sun seemed to fail and to be 
extinguished for men, when the soul of Romulus made its way to 
these precincts, so, when the Sun shall again be eclipsed in the 
same part of the Heavens, and in the same season, then all the 
constellations and stars having been recalled to the same initial 
point thou mayest reckon that a year has been completed, and 
know that of a year in this sense not a twentieth part has revolved 
as yet. 

7 o 

XXIII. Therefore, if thou hast despaired of return to this 
place, where the great and the good have their portion, what, I ask 
thee, is that human glory worth which can at best belong to a 
tiny fraction of a single year ? So if thou wilt look deeply into it, 
and regard this abode and this eternal home, cease to be the 
slave of the talk of the multitude, and no longer place thy hope 
and portion in human rewards. Then virtue must draw thee by 
her own unaided charm to what is honour indeed. What others 
say of thee is their concern alone, though talk they will ! The 
whole of that talk goes not forth beyond these narrow regions 
which thou seest ; nor has it been lasting in any case. When 
men die it perishes with them, and in the next generation is 
forgotten and clean extinguished. 

XXIV. So he spake, and then said I : O, Africanus, since to 
those who have deserved well of their country a path lies open 
to enter Heaven, I, who have from my boyhood followed close 
in my father's steps, and have not come short of the glory which 
was yours, yet now, with this great prize before me, will strive 
much more vigilantly upwards. Aye, strive, said he, and remember 
this, thou art not mortal, but this body is ; nor is this evident shape 
thy real self. The mind of a man, that is the man, not the 
form at which a finger may point. Know, therefore, that thou 
art a god. Aye, he is God who is strong and sentient, who 
remembers, who looks forward, who rules and orders and moves 
that body over which he has been set, even as the Supreme 
God moves this whole Universe. As the Eternal God moves an 
universe which has a mortal part, so does the everlasting soul 
move its frail body. 

XXV. For that which is always in motion is eternal ; that 
which communicates motion to another body, but is itself acted 
upon by a third, must necessarily cease to live when the motion 
ceases. Therefore, the only body which never ceases to be in 
motion at all is that which moves itself, because it never is 
deserted by itself. Further, this is a source and Beginning of 
motion to all other things which are moved. But a Beginning 
has no origin, for from a Beginning all things originate, itself from 
nothing, nor would it be a Beginning if it were generated from 
elsewhere. But if it never originates, neither does it perish. For 
a Beginning once destroyed will neither be born again from 
another body nor create another out of itself, since all things 
must originate in a Beginning. It follows that the Beginning of 
motion proceeds out of that which is moved by its own self. 
This cannot be born, nor yet can it die : if it did, all Heaven 
must of necessity collapse, and Nature stand still, and not acquire 
any new force, seeing that her motion comes from the primal 

XXVI. Since, then, it is plain that what is moved by its own 
self is eternal, who is there to deny that this property has been 

bestowed upon souls ? For all which is acted upon by eternal 
impulse is inanimate, the animate being is quickened by its own 
inward motion ; such is the natural property and power of soul. 
If it be the one out of all things which moves itself, then assuredly 
it has not been born, and it is eternal. See that thou exercise it 
in all that is best, and best of all are cares for the safety of 
country : the mind which has been quickened by these and 
exercised therein will more swiftly make its flight to this abode, 
which is its proper home. And this it will do the sooner if, even 
when shut up within the body, it shall ever press abroad, and, by 
contemplation of things which are without the body, shall withdraw 
itself therefrom all it can. For the souls of those who have 
surrendered themselves to the pleasures of the body, consenting 
to be their servants, obeying pleasures, impelled by lusts, and 
have violated laws human and divine, when they have passed 
out of their bodies still hover about the Earth, and only return 
to this place after ages of torment. 

He left me, and I awoke from my dream. 


It must strike a reader of the De Facie and other writings of 
Plutarch, as the De Gento Socratis, that the writer is more 
interested in eclipses of the Moon than in those of the Sun. The 
latter phenomenon is touched on cursorily, and a list of poetical 
passages is given, rather to establish the parallel between night 
and an eclipse than to shew its impressiveness. As it seems to 
us a more remarkable occurrence that the " Earth should be 
darkened in the clear day" than that "the Moon should not 
cause her light to shine," some explanation seems to be needed. 
This is probably to be found in the close connexion of the Moon 
with human life and death, and with the spirits who watch over 
and assist man, and also in the belief that the Moon shared one 
atmosphere with the Earth. It may be interesting to give at 
length a passage in the Life of Nicias (c. xxiii), where a comparison 
is drawn. The lunar eclipse in question is that mentioned by 
Thucydides (VII, 50). I quote from Clough's translation : — 

" And when all were in readiness, and none of the enemy had 
observed them, not expecting such a thing, the Moon was 
eclipsed in the night, to the great fright of Nicias and others, who, 
for want of experience or out of superstition, felt alarm at such 
appearances. That the Sun might be darkened about the close 
of the month, this even ordinary people now understood pretty 
well to be the effect of the Moon ; but the Moon itself to be 
darkened, how that should come about,* and how, on the sudden, 
a broad, full Moon should lose her light, and show such various 
colors, was not easy to be comprehended ; they concluded it to 
be ominous, and a Divine intimation of some heavy calamities. 
For he who the first, and the most plainly of any, and with the 
greatest assurance committed to writing how the Moon is 
enlightened and overshadowed, was Anaxagoras ; and he was as 
yet but recent, nor was his argument much known, but was rather 
kept secret, passing only amongst a few, under some kind of 
caution and confidence. People would not then tolerate natural 
philosophers and theorists, as they then called them, about things 
above, as lessening the Divine power by explaining away its 
agency into the operation of irrational causes and senseless 
forms acting by necessity,!' without anything of Providence, as 

* How that should come about, lit. " meeting with what body," though 
the phrase may be general, like ri iraddov. 

f Senseless forces acting by necessity. Compare the language in c. xv 
of the De Facie and in the Timceus. 


a free agent. Hence it was that Protagoras was banished, and 
Anaxagoras cast in prison, so that Pericles had much difficulty to 
procure his liberty, and Socrates, though he had no concern 
whatever with this sort of learning, yet was put to death for 
philosophy. It was only afterwards that the reputation of Plato, 
shining forth by his life, and because he subjected natural 
necessity to Divine and more excellent principles, took away the 
obloquy and scandal that had attached to such contemplations, 
and obtained these studies currency among all people. So his 
friend Dion, when the Moon, at the time he was to embark 
from Zacynthus to go against Dionysius, was not in the least 
disturbed," etc. 

An eclipse of the Sun, which took place on August 3rd, 
431 B.C. (see Thuc. ii, 28), gives Plutarch (who, however, 
places it in the following year), occasion for an anecdote, which 
may be quoted in illustration : — 

" And now the vessels, having their complement of men, and 
Pericles being gone aboard his own galley, it happened that the 
Sun was eclipsed, and it grew dark on a sudden, to the affright of 
all, for this was looked upon as extremely ominous. Pericles, 
therefore, perceiving the steersman seized with fear and at a loss 
what to do, took his cloak and held it up before the man's face, 
and, screening him with it so that he could not see, asked him 
whether he imagined there was any great hurt or the sign of 
any great hurt in this, and he answering, No ! why, said he, and 
what does that differ from this, only that what has caused that 
darkness there is something greater than a cloak? This is a 
story which philosophers tell their scholars." 

Life of Pericles, c. xxxv. 

The solar eclipse mentioned in c. xix of the De Facie has 
been the subject of much discussion, and is interesting, if only 
because its date, if ascertained, would enable us to know when 
the dialogue was supposed to take place. This need not be the 
same with the date of composition. It cannot go very far back, 
because Menelaus is introduced as a speaker, and he was living 
and observing in a.d. 98. I have not met with any serious 
question raised as to the authorship, but in any case the dialogue 
could not be much later than Plutarch's own life-time, since it 
shews no consciousness of Ptolemy's work. It is stated as 
probable by Greard (p. 45, Note) that all the Lamprias dialogues 
are early in date, and that Lamprias himself died young. If this 
was so, a date for this dialogue should be found somewhere in the 
first century a.d. Various eclipses have been suggested. Kepler 
examined that of June 1st, a.d. 113, which passed from Northern 
Europe to the Atlantic north of the Azores. A complete list, 
with charts for the successive centuries, is given in Ginzel's 
Specielier Kano?i (Berlin, 1899), and a note on Plutarch's eclipse. 


The author selects that of March 20th, a.d. 71, as most suitable. 
The date would suit well with the general chronological data 
already stated. Whatever its date, Plutarch's eclipse would have 
a special interest if it could be established that his words contain 
a reference to the appearance of the " Corona " (see Remarkable 
Eclipses, by W. T. Lynn, Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1909, and a 
letter in The Observatory, vol. iv, p. 129, March, 1886). In 
themselves they would only seem to contain a statement that all 
solar eclipses are partial (or annular).* 

There are several mentions of lunar eclipses in the Lives, an 
interesting one in that of /Emilius Paulus, c. xvii. In the 
Moralia we have frequent indications of the hold which the 
phenomenon had taken on Plutarch's mind. Thus, in the paper 
On Superstition, he refers to the advantage of possessing a know- 
ledge of science to raise a man above the vulgar claims of old 
wives to draw down the Moon. However, Plutarch had a super- 
stition of his own connected with the spirits and with death, 
which comes out in the De Facie, and also in the De Ge?iio 
Socratis, where a vivid picture is drawn, in mystical language, of 
the Moon at her full escaping Styx by her elevation, save once in 
one hundred and seventy-seven measures of time. In the De 
sera numinis vindicta a shrill voice is said to issue from the Sibyl 
who goes round in the face of the Moon presaging the day of 
death. It may be well, therefore, to look at the conception which 
Plutarch had derived from his authorities. 

The ancients conceived of the Sun, a body much larger than 
the Earth and immensely distant from it, as lighting up one side 
of our globe, while from the other side a cone of black shadow 
passed into space, tapering to a very fine head. This conception 
seems to be entirely according to fact, though we have no available 
point of view. The cone really tapers through some 800,000 
miles to an apex of a little more than half a degree, whereas on 
the combined figures accepted by Ptolemy for the diameter and 
distance of the Sun, both very inadequate, the length might be 
some half million of miles, and the angle about a degree. Into 
this cone at its broadest end the Earth withdrew (we need not ask 
how) every night, and was darkened by its own shadow. To the 
same cone, as it travelled slowly round opposite the Sun, the 
Moon's much faster orbital movement brought her, at a distance 
from the Earth rightly reckoned at some sixty Earth-radii (240,000 
miles), every time she was at the full. Then, if the two orbits 
were in the same plane, she would always plunge in and be 
eclipsed centrally every month. But as they are inclined to each 
other at about five degrees, and intersect at two points, the Moon 
rising from one point and sinking to the other, her fate depends 
on the distance of either point from the shadow. If either point, 
whether of "take-off" or of descent, is near enough to the 

* See additional note on the next page. 


shadow, she must always be involved more or less closely ; if 
distant enough she will always escape. Ptolemy puts it that there 
can be no eclipse if the node (point of intersection) is more 
than 1 5 12' from the centre of the shadow, modern books say 
ii° 21'. The other limit does not seem to be stated (as it is for 
a solar eclipse), but there was a small margin between them of 
uncertainty for ancient methods. Thus, if the orbits always 
crossed at the same points, there would, broadly speaking, either 
always, or never, be an eclipse at full Moon. But, in fact, the 
points are always changing by an uniform movement of retreat, 
the effect being that an eclipse is possible at an interval of six 
lunar months (177 days), possible also at one of five, impossible 
(as Ptolemy is at pains to prove) at one of seven. Thus, after 
one eclipse, it may be taken for certain that the Moon will escape 
for the next four or five times ; when it comes to the sixth she will 
probably be caught. If she escape then, she may be caught at 
th^ fifth fnllowino- full Mnnn nr she mav onlv he cauerht seventeen 


p. 75, 11. 7-9. For "Thus if the orbits .... full moon," read 

"Thus if the orbits always crossed at the same points, and 

if the year contained exactly twelve lunar months, there in 

would, broadly speaking, either always or never, be an -U 

eclipse at every sixth full moon." 

Also in 11. 24, 25, delete 

"completing a revolution days. 

Ginzel selected for special consideration three eclipses, those 
of April 30th, a.d. 59; March 20th, a.d. 71; and January 
5th, a.d. 75. By the kindness of J. K. Fotheringham, Esq., 
D.Litt., Fellow of Magdalen College, who has made the laborious 
computations, I can state the respective magnitude of these 
eclipses at Chaeroneia as 11.08, 11.82, 10.38 (totality = 12). 
Thus Ginzel's preference for No. 2 is confirmed : it was there a 
large partial eclipse (not annular), and the time of greatest phase 
was 11 hrs. 4.1 mins., local solar time. Several stars would 
become visible, £f of the sun's diameter being obscured : a few 
might be visible during No. i, none during No. 3. 


The author selects that of March 20th, a.d. 71, as most suitable. 
The date would suit well with the general chronological data 
already stated. Whatever its date, Plutarch's eclipse would have 
a special interest if it could be established that his words contain 
a reference to the appearance of the " Corona " (see Remarkable 
Eclipses, by W. T. Lynn, Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1909, and a 
letter in The Observatory, vol. iv, p. 129, March, 1886). In 
themselves they would only seem to contain a statement that all 
solar eclipses are partial (or annular).* 

There are several mentions of lunar eclipses in the Lives, an 
interesting one in that of yEmilius Paulus, c. xvii. In the 
Moralia we have frequent indications of the hold which the 
phenomenon had taken on Plutarch's mind. Thus, in the paper 
On Superstition, he refers to the advantage of possessing a know- 
ledge of science to raise a man above the vulgar claims of old 
wives to draw dow n ^p Moon Hnwpypr. Plutarch had a suner- 
stition of his owr 
which comes out 
Socratis, where a ' 
the Moon at her f 
one hundred and 
sera ?iuminis vindi 
who goes round 
death. It may be 
Plutarch had deri\ 

The ancients < • • 

the Earth and im 
of our globe, whil 
passed into space, 

seems to be entirex^ «« — * — B ^ , „ _ 

point of view. The cone really tapers through some 800,000 
miles to an apex of a little more than half a degree, whereas on 
the combined figures accepted by Ptolemy for the diameter and 
distance of the Sun, both very inadequate, the length might be 
some half million of miles, and the angle about a degree. Into 
this cone at its broadest end the Earth withdrew (we need not ask 
how) every night, and was darkened by its own shadow. To the 
same cone, as it travelled slowly round opposite the Sun, the 
Moon's much faster orbital movement brought her, at a distance 
from the Earth rightly reckoned at some sixty Earth-radii (240,000 
miles), every time she was at the full. Then, if the two orbits 
were in the same plane, she would always plunge in and be 
eclipsed centrally every month. But as they are inclined to each 
other at about five degrees, and intersect at two points, the Moon 
rising from one point and sinking to the other, her fate depends 
on the distance of either point from the shadow. If either point, 
whether of "take-off" or of descent, is near enough to the 

* See additional note on the next pugf. 


shadow, she must always be involved more or less closely ; if 
distant enough she will always escape. Ptolemy puts it that there 
can be no eclipse if the node (point of intersection) is more 
than 1 5 12' from the centre of the shadow, modern books say 
n° 21/. The other limit does not seem to be stated (as it is for 
a solar eclipse), but there was a small margin between them of 
uncertainty for ancient methods. Thus, if the orbits always 
crossed at the same points, there would, broadly speaking, either 
always, or never, be an eclipse at full Moon. But, in fact, the 
points are always changing by an uniform movement of retreat, 
the effect being that an eclipse is possible at an interval of six 
lunar months (177 days), possible also at one of five, impossible 
(as Ptolemy is at pains to prove) at one of seven. Thus, after 
one eclipse, it may be taken for certain that the Moon will escape 
for the next four or five times ; when it comes to the sixth she will 
probably be caught. If she escape then, she may be caught at 
the fifth following full Moon, or she may only be caught seventeen 
months from the last eclipse. This is the uncertainty into which 
Plutarch throws so much imaginative interest. The succession of 
eclipses was carefully observed by Oriental astronomers, and 
represented in a cycle known as the Sa?-os, which they passed to 
the Greeks. This cycle depends, as the Greeks at least knew, on 
the uniform recession of the nodes at the rate of about 19 in 
the year, completing a revolution in 223 lunar months or eighteen 
years and ten (or eleven) days. 

Additional Note. 

Ginzel selected for special consideration three eclipses, those 
of April 30th, a.d. 59; March 20th, a.d. 71; and January 
5th, a.d. 75. By the kindness of J. K. Fotheringham, Esq., 
D. Litt., Fellow of Magdalen College, who has made the laborious 
computations, I can state the respective magnitude of these 
eclipses at Chaeroneia as 11.08, 11.82, 10.38 (totality = 12). 
Thus Ginzel's preference for No. 2 is confirmed : it was there a 
large partial eclipse (not annular), and the time of greatest phase 
was nhrs. 4. 1 mins., local solar time. Several stars would 
become visible, f f of the sun's diameter being obscured ; a few 
might be visible during No. 1, none during No. 3. 

Figure I. — To illustrate Chapter XVII — end (after Kepler). 

There is always a point on the Half Moon, from which the Sun's rays are reflected down to 
Earth. Join S, T, L, centres of Sun, Earth, Moon: with centre L and distance LT describe a 
circle : bisect the arc C T in D : join D L : I is the point required. (V 1 B is in a plane which 
touches the Moon's circumference at I.) 

4 s 

« ~-o 

3 O 

o -o 



v d 

PA4374 .M8 D335 


3 5002 00090 1285 


Plutarch on the face which appears on tn 

PA 4374 

ocow lags 


PRICKARD,A.Q. (trans. &notes) 


(Lstronomy Library